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In 2008, a Commission reporting to the World Health Organization on the social determinants of health put a bold claim on its front page: ‘Social injustice is killing on a grand scale.’  

“It wasn't just a slogan” Professor Sir Michael Marmot, the chair of that WHO Commission, tells us: “that was based on the evidence and the urgency that I felt then and still feel”. 

Sir Michael is Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London. He has made it his life’s work to understand and tackle social inequality and how it impacts on our health. He’s served as President of both the British Medical Association and the World Medical Association and also wrote the Marmot Review into health inequalities in England in 2010 - a review he is due to revisit next year; ten years on. 

As a member of The Bevan Commission, Sir Michael, advises Welsh Government and others on health and social care policy. “Wales has always struck me as a conundrum. The health statistics in Wales look dreadful. The inequalities are getting bigger in life expectancy and healthy life expectancy (but) the people I talked to in Wales are terrific. There is a lot of committed people in Wales who I think are ready and willing to act.”

In this podcast, Sir Michael talks about his work and how the creation of ‘Marmot Cities’ around the world - place a commitment to turning the tide on social inequality and give him hope for the future: “I think we need to look at where we're heading and where we're heading potentially is for the better.”

Chair of Life Sciences Hub Wales, Professor Sir Mansel Aylward, presents this episode of Healthy Thinking. 

Syniadau Iach

In our Welsh language sister podcast, Syniadau Iach, Deputy Director of the Bevan Commission Sion Charles and GP Zoe Morris Williams join presenter Rhodri Griffiths to discuss Sir Michael Marmot’s work and how Wales could tackle health inequalities. Listen to the podcast here.