Herewith a potpourri of important portals and blogs from around the Web. If anyone has tips about where to find time to make the best use of them, please let all of us know!
|Sir Michael Marmot speaking in Rio|
University College London has just launched the Institute for Health Equity. Headed by Sir Michael Marmot, the Institute's initial activities include leading the "Euro Review" of social determinants of health for WHO's European office. The Institute's site invites contributors to submit projects, reports and case studies, and already features numerous links to "related work" in the UK and elsewhere. It also provides a link to Sir Michael's own blog, where in a posting about the World Conference on Social Determinants of Health in Brazil he describes efforts to ignore the role of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health that he chaired as "attempted airbrushing" based on "objections to the Commission's strong emphasis on inequities in power, money and resources." All absolutely true, and you read it here first in Sir Michael's own words.
At the Brazil conference, the World Health Organization launched an electronic platform called Action: SDH. Registration (free) is required to access many features of the site, but they are well worth the minute or so required to register and therefore to be able to post content. Like most such 'platform' sites, the value of this one will depend on involvement by members of the community that it is designed to establish.
PolitiquesSociales (en français, but linking to numerous sources in English) is produced by the Centre de recherche sur les politiques et le développement social at l'Université de Montréal. It offers a monthly collection of news items and research products on social policy and inequality around the world, with a strong European flavour. Canadian Social Research Links, updated weekly, is an almost encyclopedic collection of similar material, focusing mainly although not exclusively on Canada. It's produced by Gilles Séguin, a former federal public servant (1975-2003) who worked on social policy issues in various incarnations of what is now called Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. These sites are quite simply indispensable for anyone wanting to build the bridges between public health and social policy that we often neglect. E-mail newsletters from both sites are available by subscription.
On to a couple of blogs that more closely resemble this one. Healthy Barbs is written by Barbara Brenner, a lawyer and former executive director of San Francisco-based Breast Cancer Action. Brenner brings both rare wit and a litigator's rigorous style to commenting on such matters as how foundation support for the supposedly independent Institute of Medicine that is part of the US National Academy of Sciences may have influenced the content of a recent report on environmental causes of breast cancer. Brenner is also interviewed in a new National Film Board feature-length documentary on how corporate-backed marketing has distorted on breast cancer politics: Pink Ribbons, Inc . Watch for it in Canadian theatres on February 3.
Finally, there's a Canadian blog called DrPHealth, by a public health professional who writes "with some anonymity to protect its author as it strives to increase transparency, promote justice and champion equity." Like Brenner, the author is rigorous about posting references and hyperlinks to his/her sources, which moves this site to the top of those I would recommend to students and practicing professionals alike. One recent posting led me to a new Canadian Public Health Association knowledge centre site, which in turn led me to at least two interesting-looking electronic resources. I won't comment further, since I have not had a chance to explore these, but once again the potential is clear.
Now, about a source for those 48-hour days ...