28 December 2011

Divided We Stand: why inequality keeps rising

This is a paid for report from the OECD though there is a free summary as well as free data that the report builds on.

Click here to go to the OECD webpage.

From the summary report - An Overview of Growing Income Inequalities in OECD Countries: Main Findings - the most interesting thing for me was the causal model that the OECD authors developed to understand the changes in economic inequalities on page 27 (see image below).

"The first pathway goes through the impact on labour earnings inequality – from the dark blue to light blue shaded boxes. Earnings inequality in this framework is assessed in terms of both wage dispersion among workers and individual earnings dispersion among the whole working-age population, which takes into account under-employment and inactivity.

The second pathway is the transmission of labour earnings inequalities to household income inequalities – the move from the light blue to the unshaded boxes. This pathway involves several steps, which takes into account the importance of earnings dispersion together with other factors (e.g. changes in household structure and the influence of other income sources).

The third pathway is the one to final household disposable and adjusted disposable income – from the unshaded to the grey shaded boxes. This pathway takes into account the impact of taxes and transfers, both cash and in-kind."

23 December 2011

Lancet 2nd Series on Global Mental Health

Executive summary
The Lancet Series on Global Mental Health 2011 follows up on the pioneering set of papers published by the journal in 2007. It tracks progress over the past four years, and adds information to provide an indispensible resource for health workers and policymakers. The subjects of the papers were chosen after consultation with the Movement for Global Mental Health, an international coalition of professionals and the public that is committed to improving access to mental health care and promoting the human rights of people affected by mental illness worldwide.
The Series comprises six papers addressing interventions to break the vicious cycles of mental health problems and poverty, global child and adolescent mental health, mental health in humanitarian settings, the scale-up of mental health services in low-income and middle-income countries, human resources for mental health care, and human rights violations of people with mental and psychosocial disabilities. Wide-ranging in both its scope and authorship, theLancet Series on Global Mental Health 2011 provides a benchmark of progress, and a renewed call to action.

Series Comments
A renewed agenda for global mental health
Full Text | PDF
The rights of people with mental disorders: WPA perspective
Full Text | PDF
A global scope for global health—including mental health
Full Text | PDF
Empowerment and partnership in mental health
Full Text | PDF

Series Papers
Poverty and mental disorders: breaking the cycle in low-income and middle-income countries
Summary | Full Text | PDF
Child and adolescent mental health worldwide: evidence for action
Summary | Full Text | PDF
Mental health and psychosocial support in humanitarian settings: linking practice and research
Summary | Full Text | PDF
Scale up of services for mental health in low-income and middle-income countries
Summary | Full Text | PDF
Human resources for mental health care: current situation and strategies for action
Summary | Full Text | PDF
Human rights violations of people with mental and psychosocial disabilities: an unresolved global crisis
Summary | Full Text | PDF

Click here to go to Lancet Global mental Health 2011 series page

18 December 2011

Supercourse: epidemiology, the internet and global health

Supercourse is a repository of lectures on global health and prevention designed to improve the teaching of prevention. Supercourse has a network of over 56000 scientists in 174 countries who are sharing for free a library of 4875 lectures in 31 languages. The Supercourse has been produced at the WHO Collaborating Center University of Pittsburgh.
Click here to go to the main website http://www.pitt.edu/~super1/
Some key material is linked to below.

Supercourse Courses

External Supercourse Courses

15 December 2011

New South Wales Healthy Urban Development Online Interactive Checklist

This is a really great piece of work that builds on a Healthy Urban Development guide produced in 2009 (The front cover is shown above. Click here to download the guide.).

The Checklist has  been created for health professionals who can use it to:

  • Provide a standardised tool to guide and inform feedback and advice to, for instance, local government and developers on urban development policies and plans
  • Evaluate the health aspects of urban developments
  • Support engagement between urban planners and developers and health professionals
  • Inform others (planners, developers, policy makers) about the range of factors that need to be considered in healthy urban developments.

The relationship between health and urban development is multifaceted. The Checklist is not attempting to address every dimension of healthy urban development and every possible opportunity for participation in the planning and development system. As the Checklist is intended primarily for use by health staff, the focus is on those issues that can be influenced at the regional and local levels.

The Checklist can be used in two ways:
  1. As an early or ‘upstream’ participation tool to provide advice or input during the developmental phase of policies, plans or proposals
  2. As a feedback mechanism to assist with providing comment on draft or publicly exhibited policies, plans or proposals.

It is considered that the earlier the Checklist can be applied, the more likely it is to be able to effect change.

Pre-checklist activities
Prior to using the Checklist – review the questions and suggestions presented in ‘Understanding the policy, plan or proposal’ and ‘Understanding the community’.

Also consider your objective for providing a response and to whom.
Is it to be an initial snapshot? (quick version)
Is a particular health characteristic of interest and/or concern? (filter version)
Or is it a comprehensive policy, plan or proposal whereby all characteristics of the Checklist need to be considered? (full version)

Register before you start using the Checklist at Checklist, Start Using It and you will be able to save your progress, add comments to the questions and receive the latest news and information of interest via email.

You can also access the written guide who front cover is shown below. 

12 December 2011

Breast Cancer and the Environment: a life course approach

The US Institute of Medicine (IOM) has published a review of the current evidence on breast cancer and the environment. 

Overall, the IOM finds that major advances have been made in understanding breast cancer and its risk factors, but more needs to be learned about its causes and how to prevent it. The report urges a life-course approach to studying breast cancer because new information suggests that women and girls might be more susceptible to some risk factors during certain life stages.

The committee defined “environment” broadly, and reviewed evidence on a range of factors women encounter in their daily lives. 

Of the environmental factors reviewed, those with the most consistent evidence of a link with increased breast cancer risk included ionizing radiation, combination estrogen-progestin hormone therapy, and greater postmenopausal weight. 

More physical activity was linked to reduced risk. But for many other factors, the evidence from human studies is more limited, contradictory, or absent.
The IOM concludes that women may have some opportunities to reduce their risk of breast cancer through personal actions, such as avoiding unnecessary medical radiation throughout life, avoiding use of estrogen –progestin hormone therapy, avoiding smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, increasing physical activity, and, for postmenopausal breast cancer, minimizing weight gain. In addition to applying a life-course approach to studies of breast cancer, research recommendations include developing improved tools for epidemiologic research and testing of chemicals and other substances, developing effective preventive interventions, developing better approaches to modeling breast cancer risks, and improving communication about breast cancer risks. Questions about the topics addressed in the report are explored in the Questions and Answers booklet.

7 December 2011

Health and European Union Structural Funds

From Ben Cave:
We invite you to visit http://www.healthgain.eu/ for a new guide to Health Gains from Structural Funds

We are currently testing this guide and we welcome your comments and thoughts.

The guide explores how health gains can be achieved through the full range of EU Structural Fund investments: it is open for testing from today until 20 December 2011.

The guide is being developed for the European Commission. It has been designed to help Structural Funds programme managers and health stakeholders to better understand the impacts – positive and negative – of Structural Fund programmes on public health. The evidence of the links between health and socio-economic development can be used to strengthen integration of public health issues into Structural Fund programmes. The guide has been tailored to the current Structural Funds and the proposals for Cohesion Policy in 2014-2020.

Your feedback on the guide is extremely valuable, and we will use it to revise and prepare the final version.

There is an evaluation page on http://www.healthgain.eu/content/evaluation
Please pass this message on through your networks

Thank you – we look forward to your comments!

5 December 2011

New on the HIA Gateway

Mental Health Impact Assessment of use of arrest records in employment decisions (US) 

HIA of Barnsley's Core Strategy: screening & scoping 

Impact Assessment Guidance: Devon County Council 

The Health Equity Assessment Tool: A User’s Guide (NZ) 

Healthy Places: online resource 

A guide to engaging housing and health (NHC) 

Improving Health in the US: Role of HIA. Report brief 

A guide to engaging housing and health (NHC) 

An Open Framework for Sustainable Neighbourhoods 

Current Use:
NSW Planning System Review Submission (CHETRE) 

HIAs are needed in decision making about environmental & land-use policy 

Theory Issues:
HIAs are needed in decision making about environmental & land-use policy 

Training Courses:
Understanding Impact Assessments 

Online course: Health Impact Assessment of Mining Projects 

5-day course in Public Mental Health, 6-12th February 2012, Warwick. 

Online HIA in spatial planning course 

Healthy Communities Programme Event, 25th, 28th November & 8th December, London, Bristol, Leeds 

Economic arguments for mental wellbeing interventions: Seminar, 25th January 2012, Birmingham