Marmot Symposia

In July 2011 the New Zealand Medical Association facilitated the visit to New Zealand of world-renowned researcher and advocate on inequities in health, Prof Sir Michael Marmot. In conjunction with the University of Otago (Wellington), the National Heart Foundation, and the Ian Prior Trust, Sir Marmot's visit included attendance at two symposia, one in Auckland and Wellington respectively, a parliamentary breakfast and a marae visit.

Who is Sir Michael Marmot?
Sir Michael Marmot is a UK based epidemiologist, a world-renowned researcher, and advocate on inequities in health. His ground-breaking research demonstrating the effects social determinates have on health status among UK’s civil servants is often considered the “Rosetta Stone” of understanding how the circumstances of peoples’ lives have a direct effect on their health status.

In 2000 he was knighted for services to Epidemiology and understanding health inequities. He was Chair of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health set up by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2005: ‘Closing the Gap in a Generation.’ At the request of the British Government, he conducted a review of health inequities, and published the report ‘Fair Society, Healthy Lives’ in 2010.

What are the social determinants of health?
These are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age, including factors such as indigenous status, early life conditions, disability status, education, employment/unemployment and working conditions, food security, sex, health care services, housing, income, ethnic differences, social position and social exclusion.

The role of the NZMA
The NZMA is committed to promoting health equity and it is a key focus of our advocacy work. In February we published our position statement on health equity, calling for an urgent whole of government approach to improve health equity in New Zealand, with a particular focus on our most vulnerable groups. The NZMA organised Sir Michael Marmot to visit New Zealand from 11-15 July 2011 to help raise awareness and to present a vision for greater health equity.

Reference materials

Auckland symposium


Wellington symposium


Further information