EuroHealthNet seeks to address the factors that shape health and social inequalities, building the evidence base for public health and health-related policies and health promotion interventions in particular to level up the social gradient in health. The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, economic or social condition. EuroHealthNet therefore stimulates and supports the implementation of integrated approaches addressing the social determinants of health by operating at all levels and across the political spectrum in relevant health, social and employment fields.
On average, the more advantaged and well-off the individuals, the better their health – whether measured in terms of disease and mortality or in terms of self-assessed physical and psycho-social health. Disadvantages in childhood, adolescence and adulthood all play a part in the social gradient in health. It is therefore essential to understand the socio-economic determinants that directly and indirectly influence health. Our vision builds on the ‘Health for all policies’ approach, which systematically considers the health implications of decisions and fosters synergies to improve health, wellbeing and health equity. We consider that the current socio-economic challenges that the EU is facing (demographic changes including ageing, growing regional imbalances and social inequalities, high youth unemployment rates, etc.) represent public health emergencies, jeopardise EU citizens’ long-term health prospects and are likely to widen the gap of health inequalities.
The network’s office has been located in Brussels since 1996 and staff members are experienced in engaging with the EU Institutions, decision makers and a huge variety of stakeholders from public authorities, the civil society, corporate sector and academic world. The secretariat supports members’ work in EU and associated states through policy and project development, networking and communications. EuroHealthNet has connections with national and regional government, as well as with European Institutions, and therefore a good understanding of how evidence and information on health equity can best be introduced in current policy making agendas.
The office supports the partnership which operates in three closely interlinked pillars – the European Platform for Action on Health and Social Equity (PHASE), Health Promotion Europe (HPE), and the European Centre for Innovation, Research and Implementation for Health and Well-Being (CIRI).