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What can doctors do to reduce health inequalities?
  1. CARLOS ALVAREZ-DARDET,
  2. MARIA TERESA RUIZ
  1. Department of Public Health, University of Alicante, Spain

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    1 Accept that inequalities in health do exist, and are an important health problem both in the developed and developing world.

    2 Accept that any force affecting health irrespective of its biological or social origin is in the professional domain of medicine.

    3 Accept and recognise the complementary nature of the informal care sector and its role in shaping health inequalities.

    4 Develop a clinical practice sensible to social class, gender and ethnicity issues, exploring how the affirmative action principles could be applied to clinical practice.

    5 Examine how clinical practice and protocols can reduce health inequalities, identifying ways of ameliorating the effects of inequalities in health within their clinical practice.

    6 Perform qualitative research to better understand the effect of social stratifying processes on the outcome of their clinical practice.

    7 Perform quantitative research (randomised controlled trials) to assess the potential effect of clinical interventions aimed to reduce health inequalities.

    8 Participate in alliances aimed to produce healthy settings like initiatives in domestic environments, schools, cities and workplaces.

    9 Don't forget that doctors in their practice may produce gender bias (more therapeutic efforts in men than in women for the same health problem)—even unconsciously.

    10 Learn how to develop partnerships with the mass media to raise the issue of health inequalities in the social and political agendas.

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