Closing the Gap: Where are we one year later?


  • The Editors


August 28, 2009 marks the first anniversary of the WHO Commission on the Social Determinants of Health’s report: Closing the gap in a generation: Health equity through action on the social determinants of health. Noting that “Social injustice is killing people on a grand scale,” the report challenged the international community to achieve health equity within a generation. In this editorial we offer a brief reflection on where things stand with respect to health equity one year later. Our Themes & Discussions section includes two additional commentaries. Dr. José Carlos Escudero explores the meaning of the report for the WHO and underscores the report’s limitations. A detailed critique of the report, along with an alternative approach to addressing health inequities, is offered by Dr. Anne-Emanuelle Birn. Dr. Birn’s critique is especially important for offering important historical background.