New global research initiative to monitor, explain, and reduce health inequalities

CHAIN Kick-off meeting banner

A new approach to health inequalities research for better policy and practice began this month with the full launch of CHAIN - The Centre for Global Health Inequalities. CHAIN, based at the Norwegian Centre for Science and Technology (NTNU), will become the world-leading centre and research network for the international study of global health inequalities research. The centre will monitor health inequalities within and between countries, identify the drivers of those inequalities, and evaluate interventions to reduce them. It will help build the bridges between research, and policy and practice. CHAIN is unique in bringing together academia, the UN system, civil society and the private sector.

CHAIN is led by NTNU. It will work in partnership with UNICEF, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH), EuroHealthNet, and the Global Burden of Disease Study. Leading researchers will collaborate with CHAIN. The centre was founded in October 2017 and has now been awarded funding through the Research Council of Norway’s BEDREHELSE programme allowing it to become fully operational.

At the launch event, participants were presented with the most recent research into health inequalities. The collection and use of data to monitor inequalities was discussed, and ways to turn research into action in both the public and private sectors were explored.

“Inequalities in access to key resources are harmful for the health of individuals, communities and countries. This is why CHAIN will bring social and economic factors on the global agenda as the main determinants of health and disease” - Professor Terje Andreas Eikemo, CHAIN leader, NTNU

‘The need for action on health inequalities is obvious and urgent. That action – both in policy and in interventions – must be based on evidence. We will work to present that evidence in clear and effective ways, so it can be used to create positive change.’ – Caroline Costongs, EuroHealthNet Director

“CHAIN will work in close partnership with government, civil society, as well as business to create a more prosperous and sustainable future. To identify the most effective solutions and innovative responses to inequalities in morbidity and mortality, the power of business will be key and a central dimension of the Centre’s non-academic partnerships” – Kim N. Gabrielli, Deputy Executive Director, UNICEF Norway

"I am delighted to see that CHAIN has started to fly. CHAIN brings a very welcome global perspective to the field of health inequalities." Prof. Dr. Johan P. Mackenbach, Erasmus MC

“We are excited to collaborate with CHAIN and include the best research on health inequalities and their drivers in future iterations of the Global Burden of Disease Study. The work being proposed by CHAIN will provide critical insights on the contribution of social determinants of health to disease burden locally and globally” – Professor Emmanuela Gakidou, The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME)

Social inequity is universal, has a huge impact on health and well-being, and hits particularly hard the poorest of the poor and the least privileged individuals. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is very happy to join hands with The Centre for Global Health Inequalities (CHAIN) to assimilate evidence, identify the outstanding gaps in knowledge, and find multisectoral solutions to address social inequalities in accessing affordable, appropriate, and effective health care. - Partha Basu, MD, PhD Group Head, Screening (SCR) Group, Early Detection and Prevention Section (EDP), International Agency for Research on Cancer