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UCL conference to launch global health institute

11 October 2005

Migration, maternal and child health, healthy ageing and the economics of health inequalities and well-being are among the global health topics to be discussed at a conference held at UCL (University College London) on 14th and 15th October to launch the UCL International Institute for Society and Health (IISH).

The IISH conference will include speeches by Professor Anthony Costello, UCL Institute of Child Health, who has spent time working with women's groups in populations in south Asia and Africa to improve maternal & child health and an opening address by the author of the book Status Syndrome, Professor Sir Michael Marmot.

Professor Richard Blundell, Research Director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies, will join Professor Marmot to talk on social inequalities.

Professor Marmot said: "There is no longer one set of diseases for rich countries and another for poor but diseases linked to economic and social conditions that vary within and between countries. The new UCL institute has a scientific agenda and a moral concern to deal with global health problems."

The new Institute will be linked with a WHO Commission on the Social Determinants of Health, and aims to conduct research and develop actions that will improve health in developed and less developed countries. IISH will link research in biotechnology, humanities, medicine and social sciences, to tackle disease and its causes.

In addition to the daytime conference Nobel laureate, Professor Daniel Kahneman, Princeton University, will give the annual UCL International Health and Medical Education Centre (IHMEC)/Lancet lecture on Friday evening. The lecture, called “Progress in the study of well-being”, starts from the position that well-being is a better way to evaluate economic activity than simply measuring income. It will report on the latest research on the determinants of well-being in populations.

Key speeches at the conference:

• Professor Marmot, UCL Department of Epidemiology, will talk on health inequalities

• Professor Anthony Costello, UCL Institute of Child Health, will talk on maternal and child health with Professor Cesar Victora, University of Pelotas, Brazil

• Professor Katherine Homewood, UCL Department of Anthropology, will talk on the cultural dimensions of health inequalities with Professor Veena Das, Krieger-Eisenhower Professor at John Hopkins University

• Professor James Banks, UCL Department of Economics, will talk on Ageing and Health with Baroness Sally Greengross, Chief Executive, International Longevity Centre, UK

• Professor Richard Blundell, UCL Department of Economics, will talk on social inequalities with Professor Marmot, UCL.

Notes for Editors

1. For a conference programme go to www.ucl.ac.uk/iish For interviews with the speakers at the conference please contact Alex Brew in UCL’s press office on 020 7679 9726, 07747 565 056 or a.brew@ucl.ac.uk or Judith H Moore on Judith.moore@ucl.ac.uk or 020 7679 7678

2. Professor Daniel Kahneman, Princeton University, will give the annual IHMEC/Lancet lecture on Friday at 6pm at the Institute of Education. The title of the lecture is: "Progress in the study of well-being". To book a place contact Ellen in the UCL Development Office on Tel +44 (0) 20 7679 9737