Acclaimed scientists join senior advisory group on health inequities in Europe

19 October 2010

Nobel-Prize-winning economist Professor Amartya Sen will be among the many globally acclaimed experts joining a senior advisory group to assist the WHO Regional Office for Europe with a research project mapping health inequities in the 53 countries in the WHO European Region. Sir Michael Marmot, Director of the International Institute for Society and Health and Research Professor in Epidemiology at University College London, United Kingdom, will chair the two-year study.

The project - called the European review of the social determinants of health and the health divide - will aim to highlight the relevance of the findings of the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health (published in 2008) and other new evidence to the European context, and translate them into policy proposals. It will provide scientific evidence and a framework for future action on the social determinants of health.

The review will supplement research generated by the Regional Office's WHO European Office for Investment for Health and Development, and will support the Regional Office's work on a new European health policy: Health 2020. Health 2020 was endorsed by the sixtieth session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe, held in Moscow, Russian Federation, on 13-16 September 2010. The policy will be presented for approval to the 53 Member States in the European Region at the sixty-second session of the Regional Committee in 2012.

The following academics have confirmed that they will join the senior advisory group:

· Professor Guillem Lopez Casasnovas, Public Economics, School of Economics and Business at Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, Spain;

· Professor Zsuzsa Ferge, Professor Emeritus of Social Policy of Eotvos University, Budapest. Head of the Office of the Programme against Child Poverty, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary;

· Professor Ilona Kickbusch, Director, Global Health Programme at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Switzerland;

· Professor Johan Mackenbach, Professor of Public Health and Chair of the Department of Public Health at Erasmus Medical Centre at Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands;

· Professor Tilek Meimanaliev, Executive Director in the Central Asia AIDS Control Project and former Minister of Health, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan;

· Professor Amartya Sen, Thomas W. Lamont University Professor and Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University, Cambridge, United States of America;

· Professor Tomris Türmen, President of the International Children's Centre and Head of the Department of Paediatrics/Newborn Medicine at the University of Ankara Medical School, Turkey;

· Professor Denny Vågerö, Professor of Medical Sociology and former Director of the Centre for Health Equity Studies, Stockholm, Sweden;

· Professor Barbro Westerholm, Professor Emerita and Member of Parliament, Stockholm, Sweden;

· Professor Margaret Whitehead, W.H. Duncan Chair of Public Health in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Liverpool, and Head of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Policy Research on the Social Determinants of Health, Liverpool, United Kingdom;

The first meeting of senior advisers and task group chairs of the European review on the social determinants of health and the health divide took place in Madrid on 18-19 October 2010.

With questions about the review, please contact:

Liuba Negru

WHO Regional Office for Europe

Scherfigsvej 8

2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark

Tel: +45 39 17 13 44, +45 20 45 92 74 (mobile)

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Ellen Bloomer

Research Fellow

The Marmot Review, University College London

Tel: +44 20 3108 3156

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Web site:


Useful links

Interim first report on social determinants of health and the health divide in the WHO European Region

WHO/Europe, 2010: executive summary <>

WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health - Final report

WHO headquarters, 2008 <>

Additional information