Michael Marmot signs book for fan

When Annual Meeting attendee Mark-Andrew Stefan heard over a loudspeaker at the Public Health Expo that Michael Marmot would be signing his latest book, he had to get his hands on a copy.

“I knew he was such a huge influence in the development of public health, especially in regards to social determinants of health and trying to explain how poverty makes us sick,” Stefan said.

On Sunday, Marmot signed copies of his latest book “The Health Gap: The Challenge of an Unequal World” at the Public Health Expo in Denver. Published in 2015, the book provides examples from around the world of how a person’s social status predicts her or his future health and well-being. And that status is influenced by the many social determinants of health — factors outside of our genetics that affect health — such as employment and education. The book also highlights what can be done to close the equity gap between those with good and poor health.

Marmot, a professor of epidemiology and public health at University College London, said he wrote the book to not only bring all the evidence to bear on the existence of health inequity but to relate the topic to real life.

“We — my colleagues at the Institute of Health Equity in London — have done a whole series of practical reports, but they’re based on the ideas in ‘The Health Gap,’” said Marmot, who chaired the World Health Organization’s Commission on Social Determinants of Health. “If I take any of the topics I touch on here, whether it’s early child development, education…I give fairly practical examples flowing from the evidence on what can be done.”

APHA Executive Board Member Aaron Guest said Marmot’s writing style in his latest book is accessible and provides readers the chance to view health equity in a different light.

“I think that’s important in the work we do in public health,” Guest said. “We can write for ourselves but we have to write for those who might not be necessarily looking for public health information.”

Pick up a copy of Marmot’s book at APHA Press inside the Public Health Expo.

Michael Marmot, author of “The Health Gap: The Challenge of an Unequal World,” signs copies of the book at the Public Health Expo on Sunday. Photo by Natalie McGill/courtesy The Nation’s Health