Penn Dental Medicine Participates in WHO Meeting on Social Determinants of Health


Philadelphia — Penn Dental Medicine’s Center for Integrative Global Orth Health (CIGOH) continues its active engagement with the World Health Organization (WHO), with Dr. Julian Fisher, Director of Oral and Planetary Health Policies within CIGOH, recently participating in the global country partners meeting of the Special Initiative for Action on the Social Determinants of Health (SDH) for Advancing Health Equity. The SDH Initiative supports scale-up in action on SDH in WHO globally and in countries. The core partners in the SDH Initiative are WHO (three levels); the University College London/Institute of Health Equity; the University of Lausanne/UNISANTE; and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

The meeting was held at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, with the majority of participants government representatives who are focal points for the SDH Initiative at national and local government levels, along with WHO program leaders and academic partners.

Dr. Julian Fisher, Director of Oral and Planetary Health Policies

“It is vital that we expand opportunities to engage in discussions outside traditional oral health forums as this is key for advocating for action on oral health in sectors outside health, but which impact oral health,” says Dr. Fisher.

The first day of the meeting focused on the development of summer schools and a WHO e-learning program for the Social Determinants of Health Equity.  “This work will build on the WHO publication Integrating the social determinants of health into health workforce education and training where oral health was one of the eight health programs featured,” notes Dr. Fisher. “It is important that dental students see oral health prominently positioned in the broader health agenda to reinforce connections between oral health, planetary health, and sustainability – a core focus of CIGOH.”

Dr. Fisher adds that the meeting discussions highlighted the need to establish a common understanding on the terms and to develop a new SDH narrative and body of evidence, which could support the WHO World Report on the SDH Equity to be published later this year.