Educational attainment and academic achievement are directly linked to how long and how well people live. Educators are trusted advocates for youth and adult learners, and natural leaders for collaborative efforts to promote health literacy and improve the long-term health of their community. Research leaders are expected to help their community by informing and providing critical opinion about the connection between scientific achievements and health. More than any other stakeholder group, they require to transform the acquired new knowledge into action. Learning about health equity is an imperative not only for health professionals, but also for educators and researchers from other sectors.
LINKS TO SDGs:
Education and training institutions contribute to the SDGs through research and skills development in a wide array of disciplines and professions, which also span the determinants of health. These institutions support the creation of new knowledge and innovation to address societal challenges and provide evidence for informed public policy. Education throughout the life course is critical for strengthening citizen empowerment and developing partnerships. The SDGs firmly rely on strong societal institutions, like universities, to ensure their success. For example, curriculum on the determinants of health and health equity (through a SDG framework) can be explicitly embedded into education and training courses across disciplines to develop skilled professionals who can influence social and economic development across sectors with the understanding of the principles of determinants of health and social justice. Furthermore, these institutions are critical for developing SDG-focused research strategies and investments of scarce resources. By encouraging interdisciplinary research, they can contribute to better understanding of action on the determinants of health and health equity.
HOW DO WE ENGAGE WITH OTHER SECTORS:
Equity continues to be the driving force behind the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Also, understanding the bases and social determinants of health (SDH) approach is essential for the formulation and implementation of changes aimed at promoting social justice and health equity. A clear understanding of the SDH is essential to achieve the 17 SDGs. Educators and researchers are key actors to conduct programmatic and policy decisions oriented toward achieving social justice and health equity. The potential action of Educators and Researchers in reaching the SDGs:
- To acquire new skills, knowledge and attitudes to transform the social determinants of health and attain equity and the SDGs.
- To initiate and maintain a constructive dialog between individuals and organizations from different disciplines and sectors (private, public, NGO) and government sectors (health, education, work, agriculture, social welfare, etc.).
- To promote the intersectoral dialog. Agreements and specific actions may emerge when professionals from different sectors speak the same language and get together in trying to reach a common goal, in this case the SDGs.
- To become agents of change, leading intersectoral efforts to reach equity and SGD.
Possible challenges for educators and researchers to addressing health equity and reaching SDGs:
- All health workers at different levels (directors, service providers, decision makers) must be familiar and trained on SDH key concepts and how to correctly use this approach in decision making-oriented actions.
- The health sector must lead the efforts to attain health equity by modifying the social determinants of health.
- The SDG will only be achieved if and only if; health educators and researchers are able to introduce in their daily work a lens of equity.
KEY TOOLS AND EXAMPLES TO SUPPORT THIS ACTION:
- Mexico, Chile and Brazil and among the countries in the Latin-American Region that have successfully engage other sectors and implement intersectorial programs and policies
- Other countries in Europe