In honor of the 10th anniversary of the HELIUS study, the symposium ‘Diversity in health’ was organized. It was a successful day with many ideas for HELIUS to work with in the coming years! In the context of the symposium, the media paid a lot of attention to HELIUS:
Summary symposium 'Diversity in health', in honor of 10 years of HELIUS research
March 7, 2023 – Tolhuistuin, Amsterdam
During this afternoon with a diverse audience of approximately 130 researchers, policymakers, health insurers and people who work in the healthcare sector, we discussed the outcomes of HELIUS, and the implications of these outcomes for research, practice and policy.
- HELIUS contributes to the knowledge on the health of different population groups in Amsterdam: The health differences between ethnic groups and socio-economic groups, represented in HELIUS, are large. In addition, we observed that the differences in, for example, mental health have not become smaller in the second, compared to the first generation.
- The causes of these health inequalities appear to be diverse: they are partly related to lower socio-economic status (and other causes), and partly related to health care. These two types of causes lead to different implications for, for example, 1) health care and 2) a healthier environment.
- The results contribute to scientific knowledge according to which policy can be formulated/changed.
- The results are also relevant for formulating policies regarding health care and prevention, including for the city of Amsterdam. For example:
- Health care: based on HELIUS research, the guidelines for identifying people with a high risk of cardiovascular disease have been adjusted.
- Prevention: HELIUS showed that depression is associated with perceived discrimination.
- The symposium participants discussed the question 'In 15 years' time, when HELIUS celebrates its 25th anniversary: what should we do now to ensure that we see smaller health inequalities then? A number of points were mentioned, also in the panel discussion afterwards:
- Prevention must be placed higher on the political agenda, and must be understood in a broader sense than just behaviour. For example, It is also about social insecurity.
- In order to combat health inequalities cooperation should be improved between various parties (key figures from population groups, researchers, policymakers, healthcare professionals, health insurers).
- Shift the focus from differences between groups to variation within groups, and in particular to factors that contribute positively to a good health. This positive approach has a less stigmatizing effect.
- Involve participants, and groups with a migration background in general, in creating policies and interventions. For example, what can be changed in the social domain to combat health differences?
- Emphasis on generations is important, within all population groups. The aim is to reduce the health inequalities among new generations.
You can find more pictures here.