Summer '19 Pre-Health Common Read: The Health Gap

Abigail Hoang
The Health Gap

This summer, join other Pre-Health Hoos in reading

The Health Gap: The Challenge of an Unequal World by Michael Marmot

Stay tuned for Peer-Led Discussions with fellow Pre-Health Hoos!

In this groundbreaking book, Michael Marmot, president of the World Medical Association, reveals social injustice to be the greatest threat to global health.

"Dramatic differences in health are not a simple matter of rich and poor; poverty alone doesn't drive ill health, but inequality does. Indeed, suicide, heart disease, lung disease, obesity, and diabetes, for example, are all linked to social disadvantage. In every country, people at relative social disadvantage suffer health disadvantage and shorter lives. Within countries, the higher the social status of individuals, the better their health. These health inequalities defy the usual explanations. Conventional approaches to improving health have emphasized access to technical solutions and changes in the behavior of individuals, but these methods only go so far. What really makes a difference is creating the conditions for people to have control over their lives, to have the power to live as they want. Empowerment is the key to reducing health inequality and thereby improving the health of everyone. Marmot emphasizes that the rate of illness of a society as a whole determines how well it functions; the greater the health inequity, the greater the dysfunction."


Some questions to keep in mind as you read:

  • How does inequality drive health outcomes?

  • According to Marmot, in what ways should we think about health and society?

  • What factors contribute to negative health outcomes?

  • Why does the United States tolerate health gaps?

  • Explain the the link between education and health offered by Marmot.