Health inequities in older people: A plan for action

Project: Research-related funding

Project Details


The focus of this application is to identify new approaches and ways of addressing inequalities in health among older people living in low income / economically disadvantaged communities. This fits with the Healthy Living theme proposed in the GW4, 5-year strategy1. We propose to create a network of expertise (academic, professional, local) ready to respond to this grand challenge using innovative ‘bottom up’ participatory approaches including visual methodologies.

In England, those living in the poorest communities, on average, die seven years earlier2. Determinants of deprivation include: accessibility to primary, secondary, community and preventative care and food. With an increasingly ageing population, older people living in deprived communities have reduced access to these services, compromising their health and social-care3, often exacerbated in areas of conflict, political and social unrest.

Public Health and Primary Care often adopt top-down approaches, identifying behaviours or individuals as ‘problems’ and developing programmes to target the behaviours or individuals. This can result in programmes that widen rather than reduce inequalities. Our proposed sandpit supports an evidence-based, bottom-up, community engagement approach4, supporting communities to identify barriers to their health and wellbeing.

Our expertise, the urban-rural disparity across GW4 and our global partners uniquely places us to address the ‘Health, demographic change and wellbeing’ grand challenge and contribute to the GW4 priority areas ‘Inclusive innovative and reflective societies, and ‘Social Justice, Inequality, local and global.’ We will work with research partners in Colombia and Namibia to develop transferable adaptive processes and approaches for these developing countries and the welfare of their older populations.

The funding, and resulting partnerships, will enable the development of participatory community-driven projects, well-placed to leverage future funding from e.g.: Leverhulme trust (Research Projects Grants), Nuffield foundation (Grants for Research and Innovation Projects) or NIHR (Public Research Programme) enabling the generation of evidence-based practice.

1. GW4, 5-year strategy paper, October 2015
2. Marmot review. (2010). Fair society, health lives. The Marmot Review. Marmot review.
3. Help the Aged. (2002). Growing older in socially deprived areas Social exclusion in later life Thomas Scharf, Chris Phillipson, Allison E Smith – Keele University Paul Kingston University of Wolverhampton.
4. O’Mara-Eves A, Brinton G, McDaid D, Oliver S, Kavavagh J, Jamal f, Matosevic, Harden A, Thomas J. (2013). Community engagement to reduce inequalities in health: a systematic review, meta-analysis and economic analysis. Public health Research. 1, 4
Short title19146
Effective start/end date1/09/1731/05/19