Health inequalities are underpinned by the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. The gap in expected lifespan between the boys in the richest areas of the UK and those in the poorest has increased to 8.4 years.
The 2016 Academy of Medical Sciences Report identified challenges facing population health and opportunities to develop a new paradigm for ‘Health of the Public’ research. It focused particularly on a better understanding of ‘the complex array of interlinking factors that influence the health of the public’. For example, the report identified the long-term drivers that cut across local, national and global environments and the influence of demographic, political, economic, and technical developments across the country. These require interventions on health inequalities to take cross-sectoral actions across all the socioeconomic, cultural and environmental determinants of health.Supported by Health Data Research UK and international partner, Professor Shang-Ming Zhou and his team are developing data-driven solutions to identify the complex interactions between the socioeconomic, cultural and environmental factors that contribute to individual- and population-level health outcomes. In particular, the team advances local modelling technology to explore interactions of these factors at a micro-level across different sub-regions of data space so that they can effectively identify those sub-populations. They hope this will provide important insights into targeted policy development and intervention.