Dean Wolff, Julian Fisher to Participate in Nov. 8 World Health Organization Webinar


Dr. Mark S. Wolff

Philadelphia — Penn Dental Medicine’s Morton Amsterdam Dean, Dr. Mark S. Wolff, and Dr. Julian Fisher, Director of Oral and Planetary Health Policies within the School’s Center for Integrative Global Oral Health, are among an international group of experts participating in the launch of a new World Health Organization (WHO) publication focused on the social determinants of health and health equity. The webinar will broadcast live online from WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland on November 8.

The WHO  program will showcase the key aspects of the publication, “Integrating the Social Determinants of Health into Health Workforce Education and Training.” Professor Sir Michael Marmot from the University College London will speak on his experience in championing the social determinants of health in medical education. Dean Wolff will present on issues relating to educating the oral health workforce as part of a panel discussion along with other distinguished speakers, including Lujain Alquodmani, President of the World Medical Association. Dr. Fisher will co-moderate the panel discussion with WHO colleagues, who will highlight practical teaching examples relevant to a range of public health issues.

Dr. Julian Fisher

“Education and training on the social determinants of health is a vital component for advancing primary healthcare and health equity,” says Dr. Fisher, who was instrumental in the development of the book, serving as one of three editors of the publication. Dr. Fisher was also a key contributor as the lead author of four of the book’s chapters and a co-author of the two others.

The publication is the first global resource that targets educators, setting out social determinants of health theory and practical teaching applications, while drawing on a wide range of WHO and country experiences, the report says. It describes the social determinants of health as “the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, and work, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life.”

The 136-page book addresses such issues as food security, housing, reproductive health, adolescent health, diabetes, and mental health, as well as oral health. The inclusion of a dedicated chapter on oral health will strengthen interprofessional education and the importance of integrating oral health into health programs and interventions to promote health equity. The publication notes that oral diseases “disproportionally affect those from more socially disadvantaged backgrounds, resulting in stark oral health inequalities.”

The book includes recommendations on integrating social determinants of health into the education and training of clinicians, public health practitioners, and other professionals.

“WHO is providing tremendous leadership in advancing this discussion through this publication,” says Dean Wolff. “It needs to be a priority for educators, and I’m honored to have Penn Dental Medicine sharing in that process.”

The WHO webinar can be viewed online Nov. 8 from 10:15 to 11 a.m. (EST) at the Zoom broadcast link: (Meeting ID: 957 5736 3306; Password: 3DUc@T1on).