DRIVERS (2012-2014) is a three-year research project funded by the 7th Framework Programme. It aims to promote health equity through policy and practice in early childhood development, employment & working conditions, and income & social protection.
Health inequalities are systematic differences in health between different social groups. Although socially excluded and minority groups are particularly vulnerable to ill-health, differences in rates of illness and health affect everyone: health and socio-economic status diminish continually along the “social gradient in health”. Health equity is the situation where systematic and avoidable health differences do not exist, though individual health will of course always vary.
Previous research has shown that a social gradient in health exists within and between countries. The magnitudes of the gradients vary, but progress in tackling them has stagnated and they appear to be becoming steeper in some places. The WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health and the Marmot Review of Health Inequalities reviewed the evidence and identified health inequalities as a major health challenge for Europe.
What is currently less well understood is what can be done to reduce inequalities: how knowledge of the main drivers, of effective policy interventions and of the impact of different policy options can be transferred into policy action.
DRIVERS aims to promote health equity through policy and practice in early childhood development, employment & working conditions, and income & social protection.
It will do this through:
DRIVERS will provide a stronger evidence base for assessing the effects of different factors in early childhood health, employment and working conditions, and income and social protection. It will also develop a body of evidence to improve the effectiveness of advocacy for health equity, making use of established good practices and testing it in case studies and in the dissemination activities of the project itself.
Ultimately the project will provide a stronger basis for taking action in the fields of early childhood, employment and working conditions, and social protection – and therefore across the life course – to improve health equity.
Improved policy making in sectors such as health, social affairs, employment, and to a lesser extent the environment. The findings should also be applicable to practitioners – by which we mean employers, medical specialists, citizens and professional advocates.
Improved tools and means of advocating for health equity, specifically relating to evidence, message, methods of research, and practical methods of advocating.