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"" Introduction
"" Research
areas index
"" Projects index
"" Newsletters & findings
"" Publications
"" External links


Introduction to the Programme

The Health Variations Programme is a research programme focused on the social determinants of health inequalities. It was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the leading agency for social science research in the UK, from 1996 to 2001. Its aims were to undertake multi-disciplinary social science research to advance the understanding of the social processes which underlie and mediate socio-economic inequalities in health and to advance the methodology of health inequalities research.

These aims were taken forward through 26 projects based in research units and university departments across the UK. The projects were funded in two phases, with 13 projects starting in 1996/97 and a further 13 projects launched in 1998/9. The projects were multi-disciplinary, involving researchers from economics, geography, psychology, social epidemiology, social policy and sociology. All projects have a focus on socio-economic inequalities in health, addressing research areas which are high on the scientific and policy agenda of public health.

Communication with the users of health inequalities research has been a priority for the Programme, which was linked to over 2000 users in and beyond the UK. Programme users received project details outlining the aims, methods and implications of each project. Project results have been added to these project details. The Programme also established a regular newsletter and research Findings series to provide updates on Programme research and its policy implications. A Programme book, Understanding Health Inequalities, was also produced, to complement project publications in scientific and professional journals and in books. In addition, the Programme developed a User Fellowship Scheme which enabled senior practitioners in the health and welfare field to work with project teams to further strengthen the research/policy interface of the Programme.

The Health Variations Programme was directed by Hilary Graham and based in the Department of Applied Social Science, Lancaster University. It was supported by an Advisory Committee, composed of senior members of the research and policy community, and by the Research Support Division, Evaluation Division and the External Relations Division of the ESRC.

The information on the website provides a record of the Programme up to September 2001. It was distributed in CD-ROM format to all 2300 users on the Programme database at the end of the Programme. Information on project publications from October 2001 onwards can be obtained from the ESRC REGARD database or from the project teams.

Research areas index
Projects index
Newsletters & findings
List of publications
External links