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BookWatch: Social Determinants of Indigenous Health

PHCRIS Infonet, Volume 11, Issue 4, April 2007, ISBN 1832 620X
Eleanor Jackson-Bowers, PHCRIS

As a researcher in health, I am painfully aware how Indigenous people have suffered in numerous ways, due to the heavy handed application of demeaning policy. Yet I am also very aware of shocking health inequities and the need to put right the injustices experienced by these Australians, and so I am very pleased to have found this book, which provides clarity and direction on these issues.

The authors critically examine the conceptual frameworks which underpin past interventions. They do not shy away from social theory. Starting with a premise that inequities in health must be redressed through making changes to the social determinants of health, the authors dissect interventions which address poverty and social class, social capital, education, employment, welfare and housing and also engage with the relationship between human rights and health and with the importance of country. They synthesise the research evidence of the effectiveness of the interventions and current thinking so as to ensure that future developments are well informed by evidence.

Based on a series of short courses on the social determinants of Indigenous health, funded by the Public Health Education and Research Program Innovations Project, the book was developed through extensive consultation with Indigenous and public health academics around Australia.

The content provides a solid base for policy development and for planning public health and primary health care programs. Each chapter includes a chapter summary, discussion questions and references. It would be a valuable source of readings for graduate or undergraduate coursework.

The authors engage earnestly with different ways of approaching and conceptualising problems and creating effective solutions. It is a work of depth and breadth and I would not like to be working in any area of Indigenous health without it.

Reference
Carson B, Dunbar T, Chenhall R, Bailie R. (Eds). (2007). Social Determinants of Indigenous Health. Crows Nest: Allen and Unwin

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