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The role of cultural, community and natural assets in addressing societal and structural health inequalities in the UK: future research priorities.

Thomson, LJ; Gordon-Nesbitt, R; Elsden, E; Chatterjee, HJ; (2021) The role of cultural, community and natural assets in addressing societal and structural health inequalities in the UK: future research priorities. International Journal for Equity in Health , 20 , Article 249. 10.1186/s12939-021-01590-4. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Reducing health inequalities in the UK has been a policy priority for over 20 years, yet, despite efforts to create a more equal society, progress has been limited. Furthermore, some inequalities have widened and become more apparent, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. With growing recognition of the uneven distribution of life expectancy and of mental and physical health, the current research was commissioned to identify future research priorities to address UK societal and structural health inequalities. METHODS: An expert opinion consultancy process comprising an anonymous online survey and a consultation workshop were conducted to investigate priority areas for future research into UK inequalities. The seven-question survey asked respondents (n = 170) to indicate their current role, identify and prioritise areas of inequality, approaches and evaluation methods, and comment on future research priorities. The workshop was held to determine areas of research priority and attended by a closed list of delegates (n = 30) representing a range of academic disciplines and end-users of research from policy and practice. Delegates self-selected one of four breakout groups to determine research priority areas in four categories of inequality (health, social, economic, and other) and to allocate hypothetical sums of funding (half, one, five, and ten million pounds) to chosen priorities. Responses were analysed using mixed methods. RESULTS: Survey respondents were mainly 'academics' (33%), 'voluntary/third sector professionals' (17%), and 'creative/cultural professionals'(16%). Survey questions identified the main areas of inequality as 'health' (58%), 'social care' (54%), and 'living standards' (47%). The first research priority was 'access to creative and cultural opportunities' (37%), second, 'sense of place' (23%), and third, 'community' (17%). Approaches seen to benefit from more research in relation to addressing inequalities were 'health/social care' (55%), 'advice services' (34%), and 'adult education/training' (26%). Preferred evaluation methods were 'community/participatory' (76%), 'action research' (62%), and 'questionnaires/focus groups' (53%). Survey respondents (25%) commented on interactions between inequalities and issues such as political and economic decisions, and climate. The key workshop finding from determining research priorities in areas of inequality was that health equity could only be achieved by tackling societal and structural inequalities, environmental conditions and housing, and having an active prevention programme. CONCLUSIONS: Research demonstrates a clear need to assess the impact of cultural and natural assets in reducing inequality. Collaborations between community groups, service providers, local authorities, health commissioners, GPs, and researchers using longitudinal methods are needed within a multi-disciplinary approach to address societal and structural health inequalities.

Type: Article
Title: The role of cultural, community and natural assets in addressing societal and structural health inequalities in the UK: future research priorities.
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s12939-021-01590-4
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12939-021-01590-4
Language: English
Additional information: Consultation workshop; Covid-19; Expert opinion; Health; Inequalities; Survey
Keywords: Consultation workshop, Covid-19, Expert opinion, Health, Inequalities, Survey
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Research Institute
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Arts and Sciences (BASc)
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10139392
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