The Health Inequalities MOOC

The Health Inequalities MOOC

Please Note: Registrations for this MOOC have now closed.

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This course explores the issue of health inequalities. It provides an opportunity to examine contemporary interpretations of health inequalities and related concepts like justice, fairness and equity. We discuss how different approaches to measuring, defining and monitoring health inequalities are influenced by social and political factors and how this, in turn, shapes strategies for addressing such inequalities. In particular, the course aims to:

  1. Provide an introduction to key concepts related to health inequalities, for example, fairness, justice and equity
  2. Critically review explanations for inequalities in health
  3. Evaluate how explanations for the existence of health inequalities might inform public health policy and practice

It is anticipated that this short course will provide a lively forum for learning, engaging and debating the complexities of contemporary health inequalities.


MOOC tutors

Katie Powell

I have an interest in the ways in which reproduction of disadvantage and deprivation can be influenced by social interventions and have varied experience evaluating public health initiatives such as Sure Start and Children's Fund projects.  Within my postgraduate dissertation I explored experiences of a mentoring scheme designed to encourage young people from socially deprived areas to apply to University.  This research used a qualitative approach, informed by Bourdieu's concepts of cultural capital and habitus, to explore to what extent and in what ways university mentors were able to influence school leavers' perceptions of higher education.

I am particularly interested in the ways in which health inequalities are shaped by social networks of interdependency and how this influences conceptualisations of 'place' and its relation to health.  I have a broader interest in experiences of inequality that are influenced by socio-eneonmic status, ethnicity, gender and disability.  I am interested in participatory action research as a means for exploring the experiences of disadvantaged groups and influencing social change.


Dr Jill Thompson

I have a broad interest in the principles and practice of participatory approaches as applied to health experiences, health services and health research. I am particularly interested in the critical literature that evaluates the potential for participation to transform illness identities, redefine patient/professional relationships and reduce or reinforce existing health inequalities and inequity.


Professor Paul Bissell

I am interested in health inequalities, the broader determinants of health as they connect with issues around distributional justice have long interested me. I am interested in the application of psycho-social explanations for health inequalities in order to sensitively research how lay people account for how social inequality gets under the skin.


We anticipate that participants on this MOOC should plan for approximately 20 hours of study time over the 5 week period (roughly 4 hours per week).