Scientific knowledge about the root causes of health disparities contributes significantly to well-being and the building of a more sustainable society. The research center provides policy makers with insights into the processes that generate health inequities and offers possible strategies to narrow these disparities. The research takes into account an individual’s entire life cycle and combines information between generations.
Studying population health differences requires extensive data, which can be challenging to collect. However, the necessary datasets for the new center are already available.
In the research center, the long-term factors of health differences are mapped, the importance of intergenerational effects for the maintenance of these differences is investigated, and the causal effects of social factors are investigated. In addition, the center studies the combined effect of social factors and genetic tendencies on health outcomes and develops methods for the study of health differences.
Socioeconomic health disparities are observed in all countries, and these disparities have increased over the past 30 years. People in lower socio-economic status can have a life expectancy of 10 years shorter than people in higher status. The life expectancy of the poorest Finns has increased more slowly than others.
A better understanding of health inequality is also economically significant, as it has a significant impact on, for example, healthcare costs and the number of lost working years.
The Max Planck Foundation is a globally recognized research funding organization that supports top research in cooperation with the world’s top universities. The research center was originally established for a five-year period, and its funding is 6 million euros. The center also increases the international visibility of Finnish science. In Finland, the center is financed by the Jane and Aatos Erko Foundation, the cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa, and the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Helsinki.
Source: The Nordic Page