HEADS, HEAlth Determinants in Societies

HEADS, HEAlth Determinants in Societies© adisa - Fotolia -

HEADS aims to address the following challenge: systematically revisit and update the societal determinants of health.

Taking strength from the University of Bordeaux’s specialists in various academic domains and areas of expertise, breaking barriers between health and social sciences, we seek to generate causal analyses of how these determinants affect health and health decision-making at numerous scales, from the individual to non-governmental organisations.

Aim: systematically revisit and update the societal determinants of health

Strategy: generate original and innovative response to central issues regarding society and health breaking barriers between health and social sciences, taking strength from specialists in various academic domains and areas of expertise

The perspective also entails a holistic approach to health decision-making, at different scales, from the individual level to the one of non-governmental organisations, and from the cradle to the grave.

In short, framing decision-making in this way leads research to encompass the whole process. In so doing, it also encourages the production of new data about the range of actors –eg. biological scientists, physicians, economists, public authorities, etc.- who participate in problematization, instrumentation and legitimation. Crucially, during all these processes and interactions communication is a constant activity and challenge. Specifically, HEADS will encourage research to generate information about who is communicating over health decisions, how, to whom and with what effects.

Four thematic frameworks

  • Changing population health: how have the social, economic and political changes of the last few decades modified the way individuals decide about their health? Meanwhile, how have changes in health systems impacted upon the health of individuals (i.e. presence of risk factors, pre-clinical disease, psychosocial burden, biological marker of health, etc.) and the decisions they take?
  • Evolving health systems: how have these legitimized sets of problems, and instruments adapted to external and externally imposed changes (be they local, national or global)? How have actors within each system made decisions regarding the financial or legal dimensions of these challenges?
  • Regulating health technology and service providers: how has the interface between public and private bodies been managed in each polity? How has the development of longstanding technologies such as medicines, but also newer ones (e.g. interventional radiology), been encouraged and controlled? 
  • Communicating over health: how has this been undertaken and channelled during debates to formulate public problems and instruments? What publicity has been given to research results and evaluations regarding population health? What impact does health communication have on societal initiatives?

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