17 February 2011
The headline target of the Council of Australian Government’s Closing the Gap agenda is the elimination of the difference between Indigenous and non-Indigenous life expectancy in Australia. While this in and of itself is a worthwhile (if difficult to achieve) aim, life expectancy or even Quality Adjusted Life Years represents just one aspect of physical and mental health. Instead, the World Health Organisation defines health as ‘not only the absence of infirmity and disease but also a state of physical, mental and social wellbeing’. This lecture begins with a discussion of Indigenous notions of health. We will then turn our attention to the literature on the social determinants of health and conclude with new research based on the 2008 NATSISS.