WHO opens new collaborating centre on social inclusion and health

WHO has designated the Interuniversity Institute of Social Development and Peace, University of Alicante (Instituto Interuniversitario de Desarrollo Social y Paz, Universidad de Alicante), Spain, a WHO Collaborating Centre on Social Inclusion and Health. Dr Daniel La Parra, of the University, will lead the Centre.

“Through this designation, WHO recognizes the Institute’s excellent contribution to the field of social development – defined in terms of reducing poverty, social exclusion, violence (including violence against women) and social inequity – through the development of policies for social inclusion,” said Dr Piroska Östlin, Programme manager, Vulnerability and Health, WHO/Europe.

Specifically, WHO’s work with the Collaborating Centre will include:

  • the documentation of promising practices and the production of normative guidance materials/tools to improve the health of populations experiencing poverty and social exclusion, with a specific focus on Roma and migrants and due attention to gender equity;
  • information exchange and awareness raising among stakeholders, using electronic/web-based platforms, to improve the health of socially excluded populations; and
  • co-organizing capacity-building activities for health policy-makers, programme managers and other stakeholders, on approaches to improve the health of populations experiencing social exclusion and poverty.

The Collaborating Centre’s work plan also includes:

  • developing a resource package and training materials on reorienting health programmes towards equity, a tool kit on participation, web-based resources and a policy briefing on gender-based violence; and
  • establishing a teaching network on social exclusion and health.

This Centre is the second designated in 2012 to support WHO’s work on vulnerability and health. The first was the Department of Preventive Medicine in the Faculty of Public Health, at the University of Debrecen, Hungary, designated in February. 

In cooperation with the new WHO Collaborating Centre in Spain and the European Commission Directorate-General for Health and Consumers, WHO/Europe publishes a quarterly newsletter on Roma health.