GWG on Social Determinants of Health (SDH)

Launched in November 2008, this GWG contextualises and relates health promotion to the SDH agenda, specifically:

  • contributing to the operationalisation of health promotion action for the priority areas proposed by the WHO Commission on SDH;

  • advocating for infrastructure building and institutional progress to support health promotion action in this regard; and

  • providing a health promotion framework for sustainable implementation and measurement of outcomes.



The principal mission of the IUHPE GWG on SDH will consist in contextualising and relating health promotion to the SDH agenda and more specifically by: Operationalising health promotion action for the priority areas proposed by the CSDH and Rio Declaration; Advocating for infrastructure building and institutional progress to support health promotion action in this regard; and Providing a health promotion framework for sustainable implementation and measurement of outcomes.



  • To utilise the IUHPE’s global network to raise awareness, advocate and develop capacities for action on SDH ensuring synergy with the IUHPE’s priority for actions (Non Communicable Diseases, Health Promotion Systems and Sustainable Development)

  • To develop IUHPE activities at global, regional, national, and community levels that advance policy and action on (health) equity, including but not limited to:

    • Convening policy dialogues on governance for better decision-making,

    • Collaborating on measurement and monitoring issues that support evidence-based decision making and implementation accountability processes,

    • Contributing to capacity building for professionals and decision makers through the development of tools, infrastructure and leadership.

    • Developing tools and models to facilitate dialogue and framing of SDH issues, specifically, a portfolio of approaches that might be suited to varying regional and political contexts.

    • Building a theoretical framework for SDH approach to health promotion.

  • To engage in the Global Programme on Health Promotion Effectiveness to consolidate and building evidence base for health promotion effectiveness on equity through action on the SDH (including surveillance, measurement/monitoring and evaluation methodologies), and support alliances and dialogue with other evidence networks in relation to SDH issues that seek to bring forward the outcomes of the CSDH.

  • To include opportunities for knowledge exchange, and debate and dialogue on health promotion action on SDH to improve health equity in the scientific program of regional and global conferences and most significantly those of the IUHPE 2013 World Conference on Health Promotion (Pattaya, Thailand, August 25th -29th).

  • To liaise with other IUHPE Global Working Groups to ensure incorporation of applying a health equity lens to the scientific agenda and activities of the IUHPE, in adherence with its mission to support equity between and within countries.

  • To support the Interest Group on SDH in its effort to activate the IUHPE’s range of communication tools to support existing partnerships and communication hubs and contribute to disseminate resources, best practices and tools to support action on health equity.


Revitalization of the GWG on SDH

Given the establishment of a potential Interest Group on SDH and taking into account past participation of the GWG, there is a need to reconstitute this group’s membership, including co-chairs, to ensure more focused, systematic action. This will involve active recruitment of interested individuals who have the time available to undertake GWG activities and who are willing to work in a proactive manner as part of a group effort. Individuals who are interested in this area but have limited time commitment will be encouraged to participate in an SDH interest group.


Contribution to the Scientific Programme of the IUHPE World Conference on HP (Pattaya August 2013)

The GWG on SDH will contribute to the development of the scientific program of the 2013 IUHPE World Conference on Health Promotion (Pattaya) by proposing activities in relation to Social Determinants of Health (sub-plenaries, symposium, workshops etc). In that perspective, there has been a proposition, still under verification, in terms of providing some follow up to the work that was done by the South East Asia region in preparation of the Rio Conference.


Development of a position paper and key messages for the organization regarding the SDH agenda

In response to the CSDH, the Rio Conference and Declaration of Rio as well as other key follow up events, the GWG on SDH will contribute in collaboration with the IUHPE strategic Committee to the development of a position paper and key messages that will position the organization with respect to SDH.


Conduct research entitled “Mainstreaming the Social Determinants of Health agenda: perspectives from across the globe”

This research project is led by Penny Hawe (University of Calgary), member of the GWG on SDH. This research aims at understanding why and how some countries are showing more success in preserving a SDH agenda in health promotion than others. Based on the recognition of the existing gap between the agenda of the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health and the position of certain countries that are dominated by a health behaviour and risk factor agenda, this global `wisdom-gathering` study aims to surface the successful and unsuccessful strategies that health promotion policy makers are using to drive the SDH agenda in health promotion. The research will conduct a set of approximately 30 interviews, in 4 different languages with high officials in about 16 countries with the intention to use their experience in reshaping the approach in this field which could help to improve the integration of SDH agenda into the policies of governments various political persuasions.


Contribute to the Global program on Health Promotion Effectiveness

The GPHPE is concerned with how to stimulate the evaluation of effectiveness, champion the development of appropriate tools and methods to do so, and espouse the implementation of this body of knowledge to its best use in practice and for advocacy.

A framing document is currently in the process of development. The IUHPE GWG on SDH has been invited to contribute to a chapter on social determinants of health.

The chapter will need to address methodological issues, theoretical issue, the policy making processes and implementation and evaluation in relation to SDH.

The proposed invited chapter is: the development agenda: Equity, poverty alleviation and social determinants.


Contribute Chapter on SDH to the Global Handbook on NCDs and Health Promotion

This handbook has been conceived and will be edited by Dr. David McQueen. He has explained the book’s rationale as follows: “The public health world of chronic diseases (globally often called non-communicable diseases) and health promotion has grown significantly in the past three decades and the complexities are now truly appreciated. However, there is no single comprehensive offering that represents the breadth of present day work and challenges in this area. There are numerous publications that address a single risk factor for chronic disease or single diseases, but little that takes on the full complexity of chronic disease and health promotion efforts globally. This handbook will address the major challenges that stem from taking a comprehensive view of this subject.”



Sylvie Stachenko (Lead Chair) and Erma Manoncourt (Co-Chair)



Sharon Friel, Penny Hawe, David Pattison, Kumanan Rasanathan, Marilyn Rice, Vivian Lin (ex officio member)


GWG SDH members’ roles and responsibilities

Members will be responsible for:

  • Identifying areas of leadership, contribution and interest in the GWG SDH work plan;

  • Taking leadership with respect to the development of specific activities detailed in the work plan;

  • Participating in email exchanges, occasional teleconferences, and face to face meetings when possible to advance the work of the GWG SDH;

  • Signalling opportunities for pursuing additional resources to support the work plan of the GWG SDH;

  • Ensuring efforts to connect with other relevant groups or organisations from their networks with which the GWG SDH should be linking up for greater impact and reach.


GWG SDH Chair(s)’s roles and responsibilities

The Chairs(s) of the GWGs will be responsible for:

  • Coordinating the overall development and implementation of the GWG on SDH work plan

  • Actively participating in the preparation of the scientific programme of the IUHPE World Conferences (and regional conferences) through participation in the GWGs liaison committee for the GSC chaired by Louise Potvin

  • Liaising with other GWG’s chairs in order to ensure synergies and mutual support were appropriate

  • Liaising with the SDH interest group facilitator for the dissemination of resources, best practices and tools and to facilitate the engagement of the IUHPE membership

  • Reporting to Vice President for Scientific Affairs, on a regular basis and formally bi annually (Board of Trustees and Executive Committee)

  • Being the focal point for the organization on issues related to SDH (to be confirmed depending on the identification of focal points for each priority action of the organization)