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Department of Geography

 

 

Geographies of Health Reading Group

Geographies of healthIn the Geographies of Health Reading Group, a wide variety of topics concerning health and wellbeing is addressed. Specific attention is paid to the relation between health and place. Starting from one or two articles suggested by one of the group members, the reading group offers the opportunity to openly exchange thoughts on the session's topic.

Everyone with an interest in health and medical geography, public health and related disciplines is very welcome to join.

Academic year 2019-2020

Every second Friday during term time, 1pm-2pm. Exceptions to these timings are indicated where relevant.

Location: HPSS Library, Hardy Building (First floor, Room 108), Downing Site.

Convenors:

Sarah Rafferty, slr74@cam.ac.uk

Lander Bosch, lsmmb2@cam.ac.uk

Academic year 2018-19

Session 11: 24th May 2019

Understanding postpartum depression in Sub-Saharan Africa

In many low-income countries, postpartum depression (PPD) continues to be a neglected condition within the field of maternal and child health. During this session, we will consider the cultural and socio-economic factors that play a significant role in PPD, and explore the ways in which women navigate healthcare systems that fail to adequately acknowledge PPD. Two papers by Azale et al. (2016) and Kathree et al. (2014) will be discussed during the session. Azale et al. (2016) examine the help-seeking behaviour of women with symptoms of PPD in rural Ethiopia. The study by Kathree et al. (2014) provides an overview of the causes of postnatal depression and the available treatment options for women in South Africa from low socio-economic backgrounds.

Suggested Readings:

  • Azale, T., Fekadu, A., and Hanlon, C. (2016) 'Treatment gap and help-seeking for postpartum depression in a rural African setting', BMC Psychiatry 16(196), 1-10.
  • Kathree, T., Selohilwe, O. M., Bhana, A., and Petersen, I. (2014 'Perceptions of postnatal depression and health care needs in a South African sample: the "mental" in maternal health care', BMC Women's Health 14(140), 1-11.

Proposed by Momodou Jack.

Session 10: 10th May 2019

Making space for other knowledges? Positionality, privilege and epistemology in health research

With the rise of PPI and the emergence of participatory research methods, it is now commonplace for research participants to play some role in shaping health research. At the same time, dominant forms of participation and patient involvement have been criticised for their tokenism, and for failing to adequately challenge the numerous hierarchies that are (re)produced in and through research. This intersects with a broader set of questions around positionality, privilege and epistemology in contemporary academia.

We will discuss two recent articles which work through these issues in relation to mental health research. The first, by McWade (2019), deals with the question of positionality from the perspective of a 'non-mad-identified academic doing Mad Studies research'. The second, by Matthew and Papoulias (2019), describes a new model for patient participation which challenges narrow, goal-oriented approaches to PPI in research. We will discuss questions such as: How should academics position themselves? What does meaningful participation look like? How can we make space for other epistemologies within academic research? And what are the limits to this?

Suggested readings:

  • Matthews, R. and Papoulias, C. (2019) 'Toward Co-productive Learning? The Exchange Network as Experimental Space', Front. Sociol. 4:36, doi: 10.3389/fsoc.2019.00036.

Proposed by Ed Kiely.

Session 9: 26th April 2019

The impact of disability on life trajectories

This session will compare historical and contemporary perspectives on a similar topic: disability, and how it affected life trajectories. Two suggested readings form the starting point of the discussion. The first, by Vikström et al. (2017), is a historical paper examining 19th century Sweden - and a range of different life outcomes - using sequence analysis. The second, by Milner et al. (2018), is a recent paper looking at just one portion of a life trajectory: the predictors of exiting work.

Suggested Readings:

  • Vikström, L.; Haage, H. and Häggström Lundevaller, E. (2017) Sequence Analysis of How Disability Influenced Life Trajectories in a Past Population from the Nineteenth-Century Sundsvall Region, Sweden. Historical Life Course Studies 4, 97-119.
  • Milner, A.; Taouk, Y.; Disney, G.; Aitken, Z.; Rachele, J. and Kavanagh, A. (2018) Employment predictors of exit from work among workers with disabilities: A survival analysis from the household income labour dynamics in Australia survey. PLoS ONE 13(12): e0208334, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0208334.

Proposed by Dr Alice Reid

Session 8: 22nd February 2019

Current life expectancy trends in England

Life expectancy at birth remains an important headline measure of the health status of the population and has generally increased in recent decades. However the rate of increase has slowed since 2011 for both males and females, an observation not unique to England or indeed to the UK. In 2018, the latest figures highlighted an increase in the number of deaths in recent winters and an apparent stalling in life expectancy for both men and women in England.

As well as the apparent stalling in improvement, the gap in life expectancy between socioeconomic groups persists and indeed is widening, with the most deprived communities now seeing no life expectancy gains. There is also a persistent north–south divide in life expectancy and healthy life expectancy, with people residing in southern regions of England on average living longer and with fewer years in poor health than those living further north. A study of older data found geographical patterns mainly attributable to variations in deprivation status. As a consequence of this observation, there is heightened interest around the reasons behind these trends and what future direction they may take. Potential factors identified include direct health effects and social and economic factors, with considerable debate around the role of austerity.

This session of the Reading Group will discuss the latest observations, variations seen and their interpretation, considering if other information and approaches are needed.

Suggested Readings:

  • Bennett JE, Pearson-Stuttard J, Kontis V, Capewell S, Wolfe I, Ezzati M. Contributions of diseases and injuries to widening life expectancy inequalities in England from 2001 to 2016: a population-based analysis of vital registration data. Lancet Public Health. 2018 Dec;3(12):e586-e597.
  • Public Health England. A review of recent trends in mortality in England. 2018. Available online: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/762623/Recent_trends_in_mortality_in_England.pdf
  • Woods LM, Rachet B, Riga M, Stone N, Shah A, Coleman MP. Geographical variation in life expectancy at birth in England and Wales is largely explained by deprivation. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2005;59(2):115-20.

Proposed by Helen Green

Session 7: 8th February 2019

Tackling Inequalities in Rural Healthcare Provision

A large body of work in Health and Medical Geography focuses on the challenges posed by the need to provide adequate healthcare for an ever-growing urban population, both in the Global North and South. Nonetheless, the needs of those still residing in rural areas are often overlooked, while the questions of provision and quality of healthcare in those areas require urgent addressing. Hence, starting from a rural American context, heavily impacted by the policies of the Trump administration (and the lack thereof), this session of the Reading Group discusses the wide range of inequalities entrenched in rural healthcare provision. Parallels with other contexts around the globe, various pathways to addressing these inequalities and possible future action can all be topics of discussion.

Suggested Readings:

  • Iglehart, J.K. (2018) 'The Challenging Quest to Improve Rural Health Care', NEJM 378, 473-479.
  • Reimers-Hild, C. (2018) 'Strategic foresight, leadership, and the future of rural healthcare staffing in the United States', JAAPA 31(5), 44–49.

Proposed by Lander Bosch

Session 6: 25th January 2019

From Health Research to Policy

One of the reasons for research on health inequalities is the expectation (or hope) that findings will inform policy. Does research inform policy? Kingdon has argued that policy windows open by the coupling of three streams: problem, policy and politics. The accumulation of evidence about health inequalities is therefore a necessary but not sufficient condition for policy change. Hence, this session addresses the question: 'How do we define issues as "problems" that are amenable to policy interventions?' One shift that needs to take place is that of thinking primarily about health care to encompass the social determinants of health. Another aspect of policy makers is to remember the role of policy actors as well as context, content and progress.

Suggested Readings:

  • Walt, G. and Gilson, L. (1994) 'Reforming the health sector in developing countries: the central role of policy analysis', Health Policy and Planning 9(4), 353-370.
  • Exworthy, M.; Blane, D. and Marmot, M. (2003) 'Tackling Health Inequalities in the United Kingdom: The Progress and Pitfalls of Policy', HSR: Health Services Research 38(6) – Part II, 1905-1922.

Proposed by Tennie Videler

Session 5: 11th January 2019

An Ecosystem Services Approach to Urban Public Health

In the section 'World View' in Nature (2018), Professor Xuemei Bai describes a fast-evolving development in the study of the interactions between ecosystems and cities. She argues that, rather than solely studying the impact cities have on ecosystems, recently, attention has shifted to researching in what ways ecology could contribute to urban environments. Chen and colleagues (2019) develop such ecosystem services approach for cities in a European context, highlighting its conceptual underpinnings, the opportunities it presents for improving urban public health, as well as its challenges.

In this first Lent term session of the Geographies of Health Reading Group, this ecosystem services approach to cities is discussed, focusing on its implications for public health outcomes. Its use in urban contexts in the Global North and South, possible research methods and potential challenges can all be topics of discussion.

Suggested readings:

  • Bai, X. (2018) 'Advance the ecosystem approach in cities', Nature 559, 7.
  • Chen, X.; De Vries, S.; Assmuth, T. et al. (2019) 'Research challenges for cultural ecosystem services and public health in (peri)urban environment', Science of the Total Environment 651, 2118–2129.

Proposed by Lander Bosch

Session 4: 23rd November 2018

Historical Mortality Data in England and Wales

Understanding the mortality transition in England and Wales (c.1850 onwards) remains a fundamental challenge for historical demographers (and health geographers!). Spatial and temporal complexities make comparisons difficult and there is debate over whether analysing aggregate datasets or more localised studies reveal more about the mortality transition. Williams and Mooney provide an overview of urban infant mortality decline specifically, also highlighting hypothesised reasons for this decline with select examples. In contrast, Gregory's paper is an example of new digital and spatial techniques are being applied to historical aggregated mortality statistics. He also gives an interesting comparison to early twenty-first century mortality, linking to previous contemporary health geography issues we have explored this term.

In the reading group we will discuss the differences and similarities between the approaches these papers have used to investigate historical mortality data. It will also be worth considering the issues faced when using historical datasets and the benefits/limitations of using spatial techniques on these.

Suggested reading:

  • Gregory, I.N. (2009) 'Comparisons between geographies of mortality and deprivation from the 1900s and 2001: spatial analysis of census and mortality statistics', BMJ 339(b3454), https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b3454.
  • Williams, N. & Mooney, G. (1994) 'Infant mortality in an ' Age of Great Cities': London and the English provincial cities compared, c. 1840-1910', Continuity and Change 9(2), 185-212.

Proposed by Sarah Rafferty

Session 3: 2nd November 2018

Plurality of Medical Environments in Sub-Saharan Africa

Across much of Sub-Saharan Africa, traditional medicine and faith healing often co-exist alongside biomedical treatments. This session aims to situate traditional medicine within a broader socio-cultural context to better understand the plural medical environments that exist across the region. Two papers by Dauskardt (1990) and Sams (2017) will be discussed during the session. Dauskardt (1990) provides an overview of the dynamic evolution and transformation of medical systems in urban South Africa during the 1900s, and Sams (2017) explores the way in which religious identities, culture, and interpretations of 'modernity' shape decisions about treating 'everyday' illnesses in Niger.

  • Dauskardt, R.P.A. (1990). The Changing Geography of Traditional Medicine: Urban Herbalism on the Witswatersrand, South Africa. GeoJournal 22(3), 275-283.
  • Sams, K. (2017). Engaging conceptions of identity in a context of medical pluralism: explaining treatment choices for everyday illness in Niger. Sociology of Health & Illness 39(7), 1100-1116.

Proposed by Momodou Jack

Session 2: 26th October 2018

Mad Pride and Mental Health Geography

The Mad Pride movement of mental health activists eschew diagnostic practices and argue that 'madness' is a stigmatised identity rather than a set of illnesses. Yet traditionally mental health geography has tended to rely on diagnostic categories, mapping these in relation to other ecological variables. This session will explore whether these two approaches can ever be brought into dialogue. We will read a brief article by a Mad Pride activist, a short paper excerpted from Gigg's classic study of the geography of schizophrenia, and finally a critical analysis of the claims of the Mad Pride movement. Do we need to ditch diagnoses in our work? Or are there ways of conducting public health research that can still do justice to the experiences of 'mad' people?

  • Triest, A. (2012). Mad? There's a movement for that. Shameless Magazine 21:20–1.
  • Giggs, J. A. & Cooper, J. E. (1987). Ecological Structure and the Distribution of Schizophrenia and Affective Psychoses in Nottingham. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 151(5), 627–633. https://doi.org/10.1192/S0007125000284079
  • Rashed, M. A. (2018). In Defense of Madness: The Problem of Disability. The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy: A Forum for Bioethics and Philosophy of Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1093/jmp/jhy016

Session proposed by Ed Kiely. Please note that this session exceptionally runs 2-3pm.

Session 1: 12th October 2018

A Social Equity Lens in Qualitative Health Research

During the first session of the academic year, the extent to which and the way in which social inequity should be stressed in qualitative research on physical activity participation and the environment will be discussed. Three brief articles, from an exchange in 'Health & Place' on this topic, form the basis of our discussion. On the one hand, Stephanie Coen urges geographers to adopt an 'equity lens' when studying the relation between physical activity and place, as not doing so might lead public health agendas and interventions to exacerbate health inequalities. On the other, Russell Hitchings and Alan Latham warn for the blind spots that accompany such equity lens in qualitative geographical research. They argue that an overly critical academic stance might itself go too far, and hamper a constructive dialogue between academia and those involved in Public Health research and policy.

The three brief articles underlying this debate can be found via:

Proposed by Lander Bosch

Academic year 2017-18

Session 10: 25th May 2018

Differentials in Health

Arguably the most influential thinkers on differentials in health in recent years have been Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett (authors of The Spirit Level, 2009) on the one hand, and Michael Marmot (author of a number of books including The Status Syndrome, 2004 and The Health Gap, 2015) on the other. While they do not disagree - indeed Marmot and Wilkinson have collaborated - their seminal works take different approaches. Wilkinson and Pickett concentrate on inequality between countries and counties, in a cross-sectional approach, but Marmot's work is mainly based on individual level, longitudinal data. This session of the reading group will examine a summary article by each - although of course participants are welcome also to read the larger books!

Suggested readings:

Topic proposed by Dr Alice Reid.

Session 9: 11th May 2018

Life expectancy and socioeconomic development – Graphical approaches

The 'Preston curve' has become famous in economics and demography for demonstrating both that national life expectancies show a strong if complex relationship to GDP per capita in cross-sectional analysis, and that for a given GDP per capita, life expectancy has risen over the twentieth century. Preston interpreted this to mean that most of the increases in life expectancy were therefore due to other factors apart from rising incomes.

Lutz & Kebede adopt Preston's graphical approach to demonstrate that national life expectancy bears a particularly strong relationship to the average level of educational attainment (mean years of schooling), and that this relationship has been relatively constant over the last 50 years. They argue that this is because education drives both health and economic growth.

As Lutz and Kebede's article demonstrates, Preston's influential paper seems to bear multiple interpretations. During this session of the Geographies of Health Reading Group, we will discuss the issue of the determinants of mortality improvements. Moreover, the methods employed by Preston and Lutz & Kebede, and the importance of graphs to the impact of their messages can be interesting topics of discussion.

Suggested readings:

  • Lutz, W. and Kebede, E. (2018) 'Education and Health: Redrawing the Preston Curve', Population and Development Review, in press. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1111/padr.12141.
  • Preston, S.H. (2007) 'The changing relation between mortality and level of economic development', International Journal of Epidemiology 36(3), 484-490.

Session 8: 27th April 2018

Epidemics and Healthcare Needs Assessments

Large-scale epidemics continue to pose a significant, perhaps even increasing threat to societies around the globe. Starting from Elston et al.'s (2015) healthcare needs assessment during the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, the impact of such epidemic on population health and healthcare systems is discussed. This discussion is complemented with a methodological paper (Samarasundera et al. 2012) focusing on the wide range of geographical tools available to researchers in the study of primary healthcare and healthcare needs assessments.

Together, the articles may stimulate discussions around:

  • What are the consequences of health emergency situations on healthcare systems, and could these have been foreseen and mitigated in the future?
  • What are the most appropriate geographical tools to be used in healthcare needs assessment?

Article references:

  • Elston, J.T.W.; Moosa, A.J.; Moses, F. et al. (2015) 'Impact of the Ebola outbreak on health systems and population health in Sierra Leone', Journal of Public Health 38(4), 673–678.
  • Samarasundera, E.; Walsh, T.; Cheng T. et al. (2012) 'Methods and tools for geographical mapping and analysis in primary health care', Primary Health Care Research & Development 13, 10-21.

(Topic proposed by Tennie Videler)

Session 7: 9th March 2018

The expansion and compression of mortality

As life expectancy among the very old continues to rise, there is an important question about whether additional years of life are lived in a healthy state (compression of morbidity) or disabled state (expansion of morbidity). The first proposed paper summarises the main theories about the compression and expansion of morbidity. The second presents some evidence and forecasts relating to the UK.

Manton, K. (1982) 'Changing Concepts of Morbidity and Mortality in the Elderly Population', The Milbank Memorial Fund Quarterly. Health and Society, 60(2), 183-244. Available at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3349767

Jagger et al. (2006) 'Compression or expansion of disability? Forecasting Future Disability Levels under Changing Patterns of Diseases', Wanless Social Care Review. Available at: https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/sites/default/files/compression-expansion-disability-wanless-research-paper-carol-jagger2006.pdf

(Proposed by Dr Alice Reid)

Session 6: 9th February 2018

Dealing with Disturbing Data: How does health research affect researchers?

As health researchers we spend much of our time thinking about disease, death and bodily decay. While the ideal is that we will remain critically detached and objective in dealing without our data, these topics can be emotive and troubling. Traditionally we have focussed on protecting our participants from harm, without giving too much attention to the potential negative impacts on us, the researchers. Quite simply, what does researching topics that can be depressing and distressing do to us?

The first article (Fincham et al 2008) is case study that demonstrates how encounters with disturbing secondary data can impact researcher wellbeing. The second (Kumar & Cavallaro 2017) proposes a conceptual framework to ameliorate the negative psychological and emotional effects of research.

  • Fincham, B., Scourfield, J. & Langer, S. (2008) The Impact of Working with Disturbing Secondary Data: Reading Suicide Files in a Coroner's Office. Qualitative Health Research 18(6): 853–862. https://doi.org/10.1177/1049732307308945
  • Kumar, S. & Cavallaro, L. (2017) Researcher Self-Care in Emotionally Demanding Research: A Proposed Conceptual Framework. Qualitative Health Research Online. https://doi.org/10.1177/1049732317746377

These articles may stimulate discussions around:

  1. Which risks to researcher wellbeing are specific to health research? How could these be addressed?
  2. How should our emotional responses be accounted for in our research itself?

(Topic proposed by Ed Kiely)

Session 5: 26th January 2018

Geographies of the life-course: Migration and the transition to adulthood

Life transitions are located in and move through a range of geographical contexts and scales. Both spatial transfer and the reason for migrating are associated with variability in physical, social and health outcomes for women and men. However, the ways in which spatial relocation and place-based exposures are associated with age, specifically the social and biological transition to adulthood, requires further research.

The first article (Findlay, McCollum, Coulter, & Gayle, 2015) proposes an integrative conceptual framework for geographical research on mobility and migration across the life-course. The second article (Beegle & Poulin, 2013) uses longitudinal data to understand the gendered life-course pathways of rural-out migration of youth in contemporary Malawi.

  • Findlay, A., McCollum, D., Coulter, R., & Gayle, V. (2015). New mobilities across the life course: A framework for analysing demographically linked drivers of migration. Population, Space and Place, 21(4), 390–402.
  • Beegle, K., & Poulin, M. (2013). Migration and the transition to adulthood in contemporary Malawi. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 648(1), 38–51.

These articles may stimulate discussions around:

  1. What hypotheses can be generated from the geographical life-course framework on transitions to adulthood in the global south?
  2. Does migration in the global south support socio-economic mobility, or does it reproduce social and gender inequality?

(Topic proposed by Dr Akanksha Marphatia)

Session 4: 1st December 2017

Every day, when leaving their homes, billions of people set foot in an environment that strongly impacts their health. Outdoor air pollution kills 3.3 million people every single year, mostly in urban areas. This is more than the annual number of deaths caused by HIV, malaria and influenza combined. As the relation between ambient air pollution and health evokes many questions, the fourth session of the Geographies of Health Reading Group studies this topic, starting from two main questions and related suggested readings.

The first one is: "Is outdoor physical activity still the best buy in public health?"

Suggested reading: Tianio, M.; de Nazelle, A.J.; Götschi, T. et al. (2016) 'Can air pollution negate the health benefits of cycling and walking?', Preventive Medicine 87, 233-236.

The second one is: "Does air pollution contribute to health inequalities?"

Suggested reading: O'Neill, M.S.; Jerett, M.; Kawachi, I. et al. (2003) 'Health, Wealth, and Air Pollution: Advancing Theory and Methods', Environmental Health Perspectives 111(16), 1861-1870.

Session 3: 17th November 2017

Can medicine cure racism?
Historically the biomedical sciences haven't addressed social problems such as racism, sexism and economic inequality. Despite their demonstrable impacts on human health, inquiry into these issues has been largely left to the social sciences. Now some scholars are attempting to change this. By combining the research techniques of critical geographical research and biomedicine, they hope to both improve the efficacy of public health interventions, and broaden the scope of medical inquiry and intervention. But how successful can this endeavour ever be?
The reading group's discussion will start from two articles – the first (Krieger 2003) outlines a possible methodology for engaging with social problems scientifically, while the second (Neely and Nading 2017) offers a series of case studies that attempt to combine geographical, public health and biomedical analysis:
1) Krieger, N. (2008) Does Racism Harm Health? Did Child Abuse Exist Before 1962? On Explicit Questions, Critical Science, and Current Controversies: An Ecosocial Perspective. American Journal of Public Health 98(Supplement 1): S20-S25. Doi: 10.2105/AJPH.98.Supplement_1.S20
2) Neely, A. and Nading, A.M. (2017) Global Health From the Outside: The Promise of Place-Based Research. Health and Place (45): 55-63. Doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2017.03.001
These articles might stimulate a discussion on questions such as:
  • Is it possible for 'objective' science to offer solutions to 'subjective' social problems?
  • To what extent can we combine disciplines with different epistemological foundations?

Session 2: 3rd November 2017

Migration and its public health impacts in host communities

Both in academic writing and the public opinion, the influx of migrants and refugees is often portrayed as a public health threat, potentially importing severe infectious diseases such as the Ebola virus, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C. There is growing evidence that this presumed threat is largely based on irrational beliefs, in which sentiments of xenophobia and latent racism often play a role. This, however, does not imply that there are no public health issues related to the arrival of migrants to host countries. Policymakers and healthcare providers should be aware of the vulnerabilities mobile populations face, especially when confronted with poor, unhygienic living circumstances, interrupted vaccination schemes for young children, cultural and linguistic barriers to access health care services, additional stress and mental health issues…

To address this topic of migration and (public) health, the reading group's discussion will start from two articles offering different views on the matter:

  1. Gushulak, B.D., Weekers, J. and MacPherson, D.W. (2010) 'Migrants and emerging public health issues in a globalized world: threats, risks and challenges, an evidence-based framework', Emerging Health Threats Journal 2(e10). Doi: 10.3134/ehtj.09.010.
  2. Rechel, B.; Mladovsky, P.; Ingleby, D.; Mackenbach, J.P. and McKee, M. (2013) 'Migration and health in an increasingly diverse Europe', The Lancet 381, 1235–45. Doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)62086-8.

Through their opposite perspectives, the articles might stimulate a discussion on questions such as:

  • How can one ensure that healthcare systems are capable of effectively responding to the health requirements of incoming populations?
  • Could academic research be used to address the public opinion on migration and the perceived (public) health threats it poses?

Session 1: 20th October 2017

The topic of the first session of the year will be the concept of 'wellbeing'. The UN's Sustainable Development Goal 3 aims for 'Good health and well-being for all at all ages'. Wellbeing has become a key theme in research and a priority on the public health agenda. However, the question arises whether there exists a (globally applicable) definition of wellbeing, and how it can be measured in practice.

The first proposed paper to start and support the discussion on this question is a reference work by Fleuret and Atkinson (2007). It offers a review of the theoretical approaches to and challenges for operationalising the concept of wellbeing in both research and policy. Moreover, it introduces several fundamental aspects of health geography to readers who may not be as well acquainted with the field.

The second article by Foley and Kistemann (2015) is an illustration of health geographical research on how wellbeing relates to the physical environment. The potential of promoting human wellbeing through visual landscapes such as 'healthy green spaces' is well-established. The proposed article, however, focuses on a more recent development, namely 'healthy blue space'. These are spaces where water is at the core of the landscape. The authors provide insights into the relation between blue spaces and the health and wellbeing of people who actively engage in them.

  • Fleuret, S. and Atkinson, S. (2007) 'Wellbeing, Health and Geography: A Critical Review and Research Agenda', New Zealand Geographer 63, 106-118. doi:10.1111/j.1745-7939.2007.00093.x.
  • Foley, R. and Kistemann, T. (2015) 'Blue Space Geographies: Enabling Health in Place', Health and Place 35, 157-165.

These articles can stimulate a discussion on the meaning of wellbeing, how we should implement, operationalise and measure this concept, and the (dis)advantages to using it. The targets of SDG3 could be an interesting element to discuss in this respect.

Academic year 2016-17

Session 11: 20th June 2017

The last reading group of this year focuses on residential mobility. Two articles are suggested:

  • South, S.J. and Crowder, K.D. (1998) 'Leaving the 'Hood: Residential Mobility between Black, White and Integrated Neighborhoods', American Sociological Review 63(1), pp.17-26.
  • McPeake, J. (1998) 'Religion and Residential Search Behaviour in the Belfast Urban Area', Housing Studies 13(4), pp.527-548.

Session 10: 26th May 2017

The focus of this week's session is urban segregation and its impacts. The proposed article is:

  • Bailey, N.; van Gent, W.P.C. and Musterd, S. (2017) 'Remaking Urban Segregation: Processes of Income Sorting and Neighbourhood Change', Population, Space and Place 23, e2013.

Session 9: 21st April 2017

This week, we are looking at the role of 'place' in health research. The following articles guide the discussion:

  • Cummins, S.; Curtis, S.; Diez-Roux, A.V. and Macintyre, S. (2007) 'Understanding and representing 'place' in health research: A relational approach', Social Science & Medicine 65, 1825-1838.
  • Villanueva, K.; Badland, H.; Kvalsig, A. et al. (2016) 'Can the Neighborhood Built Environment Make a Difference in Children's Development? Building the Research Agenda to Create Evidence for Place-Based Children's Policy', Academic Pediatrics 16(1), 10-19.

Session 8: 10th March 2017

We will be discussing the health services and their utilisation this week:

Session 7: 24th February 2017

We will be discussing the attached articles, which both relate to healthcare markets.

The first is Hart's classic 1971 paper on the inverse care law (the availability of good medical care tends to vary inversely with the need for it in the population served). Among other things, Hart makes fascinating comments about the introduction of the NHS, which occurred while he was a student.

The other reading is a section from Angrist and Pischke, Mastering Metrics (2014). This examines the effect of health care pricing on both the take-up of care and health outcomes, in two US experiments (RAND and Oregon) which randomly allocated health insurance to groups of people.

  • Julian Tudor Hart. 27th February 1971. The Inverse Care Law. The Lancet.
  • Joshua D. Angrist and Jörn-Steffen Pischke. 2014. Mastering 'Metrics: The Path from Cause to Effect. ISBN 9781400852383. Pages 17-31.

Session 6: 30th January 2017

We will be discussing the following:

Session 5: 10th January 2017

This week's readings cover the role of social and economic hierarchies in disease rates.

One is a commentary article from Michael Marmot at UCL (ran the Whitehall Studies) and the other looks at how the influence of professional status on health varies between men and women.

  • Michael Marmot, Status syndrome, Significance, December 2004.
  • Amanda Sacker, David Firth, Ray Fitzpatrick, Kevin Lynch, Mel Bartley. Comparing health inequality in men and women: prospective study of mortality 1986-96. BMJ 2000;320:1303–7 doi:10.1136/bmj.320.7245.1303

Session 4: 14th December 2016

This week's meeting will discuss two contrasting articles related to obesity:

The first one, by Evans, is a rather unconventional analysis of the obesity discourse and frames it within the critical cultural turn in obesity research. It is especially directed towards (medical) geographers and also carries a historical perspective.

The second article, by Harrison and colleagues, follows a more classic, mainstream approach in the development of a model of drivers of childhood obesity, keeping the main focus on the individual.

  • Evans, B. (2006) 'Gluttony or Sloth: Critical Geographies of Bodies and Morality in (Anti)Obesity Policy', Area 38(3), 259-267.
  • Harrison, K.; Bost, K.K.; McBride, B.A. et al. (2011) 'Toward a developmental conceptualization of contributors to overweight and obesity in childhood: the Six-Cs model', Child Development Perspectives 5(1), 50-58.

Session 3: 25th November 2016

We will be discussing the persistence and causes of social differentials in health, based on the following readings:

  • Robert Woods and Naomi Williams. 1995. Must the gap widen before it can be narrowed: long-term trends in social class mortality differentials. Continuity and Change 10(1): 105-137. doi:10.1017/S0268416000002514
  • Bruce Link and Jo Phelan. 1995. Social conditions as fundamental causes of disease. Journal of health and social behavior Extra Issue: 80-94. URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2626958
  • Sean Clouston, Marcie Rubin, Jo Phelan and Bruce Link. 2016. A social history of disease: contextualizing the rise and fall of social inequalities in cause-specific mortality. Demography 53: 1631-1656. doi:10.1007/s13524-016-0495-5

Session 2: 4th November 2016

We will talk about discrimination, segregation and health, based on reading the following:

  • Douglas Massey. 2004. Segregation and stratification: A biosocial perspective. Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race, 1:7–25. doi:10.10170S1742058X04040032
  • Vickie Mays, Susan Cochran and Namdi Barnes. 2007. Race, race-based discrimination, and health outcomes among African Americans. Annual Review of Psychology. 58:201-225. doi:10.1146/annurev.psych.57.102904.190212

Session 1: 21st October 2016

The first session will look at the Barker hypothesis/fetal origins/DoHAD approach, which was inspired by the observation of geographic differentials in health.

  • Barker. 2007. The origins of the developmental origins theory. Journal of Internal Medicine 261(5) doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2796.2007.01809.x
  • Almond and Currie. 2011. Killing me softly: the fetal origins hypothesis. Journal of Economic Perspectives 25(3):153-172 doi:10.1257/jep.25.3.153