Assignment Brief

  1. Identification of a public health issue where inequalities prevail and critical discussion of the rationale and  significance of your choice
  2. Critical analysis of the research evidence and relevant policies to demonstrate a detailed understanding of the central issues surrounding this particular inequality
  3. Application of relevant inequality theories to explain and justify your understanding of the problem

What needs to be covered in the assignment:

  • Identify a public health issue and explain why it is a significant public health (i.e. morbidity and mortality) issue (usually because of the impact/consequences (including cost!)
  • Cost is in terms of health/psychological cost/social cost/economic cost
  • In this section it is important to demonstrate the inequalities that exist (using up to date statistics) – see for example http://www.apho.org.uk/ for national and regional data (e.g. health profiles)

Then you need to:

  • Critical analysis of the research evidence and relevant policies to demonstrate a detailed understanding of the central issues surrounding this particular inequality
  • In this section I would cover the key causes/determinants of the issues (e.g. poor SES etc)…i.e. what is the evidence for WHY there are these inequalities (avoid just describing the inequalities)
  • Essentially you need to look at the evidence as to why these inequalities exist so that you can ‘tease out this evidence’ to see which inequality theory it best matches

Theories of health inequalities

  • Psychosocial- basis of Spirit Level and Marmot review approaches
  • Material and neo-material- provision of and access to goods and services shapes the social gradient
  • Lifecourse- underpins those above
  • Integrated explanation (components of psychosocial, material, neo-material) – Lamont and others- draw these together

BUT- social epidemiology can be critiqued and extended- Fundamental causation theory (the capacity of the more advantaged groups in society to access and mobilise a range of resources) is one way we can do this (e.g. smoking cessation – https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/1113/19112013-Tackling-early-socioeconomic-inequalities-as-important-as-encouraging-smoking-cessation-Brunner).

In respect of policies…

Then you need to choose

  • The most relevant theories to explain your inequality
  • NB there are 3 sections…therefore approx 1000 words per section

Referencing:

  • APA 6th(Harvard Style)
  • Synthesising – what a number of people have said – e.g. there is evidence that people of lower socioeconomic status suffer poorer health (reference 1, reference 2, reference 3, reference 4)

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