The public focus on genetics and genetic research has detracted from the important role of social factors in determining health, argues Professor Ichiro Kawachi, Professor of Social Epidemiology and the Director of the Harvard Center for Society and Health.
In a free public lecture to be given at The University of Western Australia next week, Professor Kawachi, Healthway Visiting Scholar, will discuss the key role played by social determinants on the health of populations, factors often overshadowed by the current popularity of genetic research.
"Since the advent of the Human Genome Project, a disproportionate level of intellectual effort and funding seems to have been directed toward genes as the driver of population health," Professor Kawachi says.
"Improving the health of populations in the 21st century will require concerted and systematic efforts to invest in the broader social determinants of health, such as early childhood social environments."
In this lecture, Professor Kawachi will argue that investing in the improvement of the quality of the social environment for our children, enhancing the quality of our residential communities, ensuring the availability of decent work, and striving toward a more equitable distribution of wealth and incomes, are essential to improving health of populations in this century.
Professor Kawachi has served as a consultant to the Pan-American Health Organization/World Health Organization and the World Bank. Most recently, he served as Special Advisor to the Measurement Knowledge Network of the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health.
Professor Kawachi's lecture will be held at 6pm on Thursday 5 June in UWA's Social Sciences Lecture Theatre (nearest carpark via Hackett Entrance 1).
For more information, contact UWA's Institute of Advanced Studies on 6488 1340 or [email protected]