From data to policies: let the data speak!  Making local policies more evidence- informed about health and health inequalities. Developing a community engagement toolkit to address health inequalities in urban settings.

For the attention of: Policy makers and Stakeholders (Local and Municipal Authorities, decision-makers from governmental and private institutions, civil society organization) in the fields of  health, social service, education, workplace, urbanism, immigration, environmental issues, and local community.

The problem: Since the evidence policy gap often prevents policymakers from using the evidence provided by experts, appropriate structures and mechanisms of governance are needed to overcome this barrier.

What we did and why: Starting from epidemiology evidence, a community of experts, policymakers and stakeholders was engaged in a participatory evidence-based decision-making process using the research-action approach and several stakeholder engagement strategies to raise awareness and foster intersectoral actions aimed at tackling social health inequalities. More than 50 stakeholders and high-profile local policymakers were involved in a co-investigation, co-decision and co-creation processes to reduce social health inequalities in the city of Turin.

What our study adds: The study demonstrate that the “equity lens” are an effective criterion to identify potential health gains as achievable targets for policymaking, a useful metric for comparative analysis of the impact of different policies and a mean to foster stakeholder’ attitude to cooperate in a multi-sectorial approach.

Implications for city policy and practice: The city is considered an “umbrella” setting under which all other settings (school, workplace, local community…etc) converge and may be coordinated to achieve common objectives for health promotion and prevention.

  • A local, epidemiologic longitudinal infrastructure may provide factual evidence for raising awareness with good storytelling, while facilitating the health inequalities impact assessment and the results/impact evaluation.
  • A systematic cooperative effort of the action-research approach with stakeholders is needed to ensure effectiveness and participation in innovation.

Other relevant information: 

Mindmap Cities: MINDMAP aims to identify the opportunities offered by the urban environment for the promotion of mental wellbeing and cognitive function of older individuals in Europe.

Full research article: Focusing urban policies on health equity: the role of evidence in stakeholder engagement in an Italian urban setting by Nicolás Zengarini, Silvia Pilutti, Michele Marra, Alice Scavarda, Morena Stroscia, Roberto Di Monaco, Franca Beccaria & Giuseppe Costa.