Abstract – The right to sutures: Social epidemiology, human rights, and social justice

Sridhar Venkatapuram, Ruth Bell, and Michael Marmot

Health and Human Rights 12/2

Published December 2010


The article examines the convergences and contrasts between social epidemiology, social medicine, and human rights approaches toward advancing global health and health equity. The first section describes the goals and work of the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health. The second section discusses the role of human rights in the Commission’s work. The third section evaluates, from the perspective of social epidemiology, two rights-based approaches to advancing health and health equity as compared to a view that focuses more broadly on social justice. The concluding section identifies four areas where social epidemiologists, practitioners of social medicine, and health and human rights advocates can and must work together in order to make progress on health and health equity.