Health Inequalities

One of the key values for modern societies are well-guarded levels of physical and mental health, high life expectancy and equal access to healthcare. Although inequalities in health between individuals are unavoidable, countries are also faced with substantial and systematic differences in health between groups (‘health inequalities’).

Ample scientific evidence suggests that such inequalities are largely dependent on how well off an individual is as regards their socioeconomic position, their level of education or physical environment. However, scientists from different disciplines disagree on how exactly these social gradients are causally linked to health, and thus also on how best to mitigate the vulnerability of certain societal groups.


In a bid to align these varying perspectives, ALLEA together with the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and the Federation of European Academies of Sciences (FEAM) has initiated a multi-disciplinary project aimed at reviewing existing research findings and striking a balance between the outcomes of different disciplines.

ALLEA and FEAM have installed a Scientific Committee of experts on health inequalities to oversee the work carried out within the project. Covering academic backgrounds such as public health, epidemiology, genetics, economics and social sciences, the Committee provides guidance with a view towards facilitating a tailored interdisciplinary debate.

This project focuses on:

  • Causal effects of socioeconomic position on health.
  • Specific mediating factors contributing to health inequalities.
  • Effectiveness of interventions and policies to address health inequalities.

  • Professor Johan Mackenbach, Chair (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences)
  • Professor Giuseppe Costa (University of Turin, Italy)
  • Professor Johannes Siegrist (Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Germany)
  • Domantas Jasilionis (Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, Lithuania)
  • Professor Alfred Spira (French Academy of Medicine)
  • Professor Denny Vågerö (Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences)
  • Professor Clare Bambra (Academy of Social Sciences, United Kingdom)
  • Bogdan Wojtyniak (Polish Academy of Sciences)
  • Professor George Davey Smith (Royal Society of Edinburgh, United Kingdom)
  • Professor Dame Margaret Whitehead (Academy of Medical Sciences, United Kingdom)
  • Professor Guillem Lopez Casasnovas (Royal Academy of Medicine of Catalonia, Institute of Catalan Studies)
  • Professor Anne-Marie Nybo Andersen (University of Copenhagen, Denmark)

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