This story was first published on the 29th May 2017 for Pomegranate, a podcast of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. Subscribe to the series on iTunes Store or Android.

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It’s estimated that socioeconomic factors are responsible for half of a population’s health and wellbeing status. In comparison, medical services might determine only a quarter of health outcomes. Better targeting of social services and health resources is key to addressing this—but it’s not just a macro-level problem, according to Professor Ross Upshur FRCPC of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. He says that merging medical records with SES markers will help physicians manage inequity at every consultation via ‘social precision medicine.’ In his opening address at Congress, he also spoke about how codes of ethics in medical practice have changed over the years.

Associate Professor Sue Woolfenden FRACP is a paediatrician in the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network, and spoke at Congress explaining how the biological and social determinants of health are entwined even before birth, with effects accumulating at every stage of development. Her research for the UNSW School of Women and Children’s Health reveals why some culturally and linguistically diverse communities don’t access antenatal services and pre-school care, and what clinicians can do to make services more accessible.

The podcast also features Dr Brett Sutton FACTM FRSPH, Deputy Chief Health Officer of Victoria, who participated in a Congress session discussing health advocacy, and dealing with issues that might conflict with political or media interests.


This episode was produced by Mic Cavazzini. Music from Comma (“Between the Sunset and The Sea”),Gillicuddy (“Adventure Darling”), Blue Dot Sessions (“Downhill Racer”); photo courtesy iStock. Pomegranate’s executive producer is Anne Fredrickson.