Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care


Álvaro Passi


My PhD Title: Gender and socioeconomic inequalities in the management of hypertension in Chile

Supervisor: Shaun Scholes, Jenny Mindell

Lay summary:Hypertension corresponds to the highest risk factor for mortality in the world, producing the death of 7.1 million individuals yearly. In Chile, the prevalence of hypertension among adults is high (around 30%) and have the highest attributable burden of disease.

To control this condition is necessary to climb several steps of the staircase of the health system: 1) access to the healthcare system, 2) be diagnosed, 3) access to treatment and finally, 4) adhere to the treatment.

Those with more resources are more likely to access to each one of these steps. This is also known as the staircase of inequalities in health. In Chile, the staircase effect of inequalities in hypertension is partially known.

The Chilean National Health Survey (ENS) is a big health study that could help us to understand this problem. ENS was applied in the houses of a random sample of Chilean adults in the years 2003, 2010 and 2017, each time collecting information of around 5.000 participants.

Some PhD questions to be researched using the ENS:

1. How are the gender and socioeconomic inequalities in the awareness of diagnosis, treatment coverage and blood pressure control among hypertensive population?

2. Have these inequalities changed over time?

My Background I am a pharmacist with a master's degree in Epidemiology from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC).

I was awarded a fee scholarship of the Faculty of Medicine PUC to study the Master in Epidemiology (2012-2014). The Master's thesis "Analysis of Effective Control of Hypertension in Chile" was funded by the Faculty of Medicine PUC and evaluated with maximum distinction. One of the primary results from my Master thesis was a significant association between some social variables with blood pressure control, highlighting the relevance of this topic.

In parallel, as a member of the Public Health Department staff - PUC, I was co-researcher in 5 public research projects of the Chilean Ministry of health. I have worked in two important epidemiological studies of Chile (MAUCO cohort and the Chilean National Health Survey 2016) and explored the different stages of the research, from the design, application to funds, training, field work, validation and analysis of databases, to the writing of reports, articles and participation in congresses. This experience allowed me to know the relevance of epidemiology, considering the impact it has on the lives of Chileans. The PhD program is sponsored by CONICYT Becas Chile.


PhD scholarship CONICYT Becas Chile

Master scholarship from the Faculty of Medicine, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile


1. Margozzini P, …, Passi A. Chronic multimorbidity in Chilean adults: analysis of the National Health Survey ENS 2009-2010. Medwave [Internet]. 2016 Nov 29 [cited 2018 Apr 29];16(Suppl6).

2. Passi A, Margozzini P, …, Carrasco M, et al. Inappropriate medication use among Chilean older people. Revista médica de Chile. 2016;144(4):417.

3. Ferreccio C, Passi A, et al. Study protocol for the Maule Cohort (MAUCO) of chronic diseases, Chile 2014-2024. BMC public health. 2016;16(1):1.

4. Mardones F, … Passi A, et al. Pregnancy outcomes and the use of two standards to assess adequacy of maternal body mass index in early gestation. J Dev Orig Health Dis. 2015 Sep 9;1-7.

5. Díaz A P, Undurraga P A, Passi A. Use and abuse of corticosteroids in respiratory diseases. Revista chilena de enfermedades respiratorias [Internet]. 2013 Apr [cited 2016 Sep 22];29(2):67-9.

6. Cid C, Margozzini P, Passi A. Systematization of methodologies for measuring out-of-pocket expenses in health and methodological proposal for Chile. 2013

Contact details Email: alvaro.solar.17@ucl.ac.uk