“Dream with me, of a world where social justice is taken seriously. Then take the pragmatic steps necessary to achieve it.” That is how acclaimed health equity expert Sir Michael Marmot ended his much anticipated key note address at the 2012 Charles Hastings Lecture.
During his key note address, Sir Michael spoke passionately that health is an indicator of how well we are doing as a society. His lecture begged the question of what kind of city we aspire to: A Toronto with an affluent few? Or a Toronto where all people have the life chances to achieve optimal health?
Sir Michael drove home the message that reducing health inequalities arising from a “toxic combination” of unfair social and economic policies requires action from across sectors. In other words, health is everyone’s business. This passionate lecture reinvigorated commitment toward doing what is right and socially just for a city where everyone can flourish. Such a city is within our reach and the 2012 Hastings Lecture created the vital momentum to get us closer.
Sir Michael Marmot is the Chair of the World Health Organization Commission on the Social Determinants of Health as well as the Chair of the European Review of Social Determinants of Health and the Health Divide. Through his groundbreaking research he has demonstrated that the more socially and economically advantaged people are, the better their health is. In 2000, he was knighted by Her Majesty The Queen for services to Epidemiology and the understanding of health inequalities.