Skip to 0 minutes and 3 secondsMARY RENFREW: Welcome to Towards Equity, tackling inequalities through health and social care. I'm Mary Renfrew, professor of mother infant health at the University of Dundee. My background as a midwife has given me firsthand experience of the challenges that social and health inequalities can cause. And my work as a health researcher in the UK and internationally has focused on practical ways in which health care can overcome inequalities. In this course, we'll be using Scotland as a case study to explore how social and health inequalities can be tackled using a range of approaches at local, national, and global levels. The activities and learning from this course are relevant, not just to the UK and Europe, but around the world.

Skip to 0 minutes and 49 secondsInequalities can be hard to quantify, and the causes are varied. You might wonder if there's anything you can do to impact on such a wide ranging social issue. However, during this course, we'll be looking at a series of approaches that have been successful, and that began because one person or a small group decided to take action. For those of you who are working in management positions, we'll also be looking at larger projects that might help to inform your own strategies and service planning. If you have an interest in inequalities, either personally or through working with a charity or voluntary organisation, there's information here for you too.

Skip to 1 minute and 29 secondsThroughout the course, there will be opportunities to discuss, collaborate, and most importantly, act to make an impact, wherever you are and whatever you do. The course contains four weeks of learning. Each week will take about three hours of your time, if you complete all of the exercises and readings. Or you can move around at your leisure and work on the areas that interest you most. We'll be using videos, readings, activities, and discussions to approach social and health inequalities from different angles.

Skip to 2 minutes and 6 secondsIt Is, of course, impossible for us to cover every issue connected with inequalities in such a short time, so we'll show you some examples, and hopefully hear from you about what is working well where you live, where are changes needed, and what lessons can we learn from each other? During the course, you'll hear from practitioners, researchers, and policymakers who will talk about the progress we've made here in Scotland, and what hasn't worked so well. With them, you'll explore how these lessons can be adapted for your own use.

Welcome to the course

Welcome to Tackling Inequalities Through Health and Social Care Design. Before you begin, please fill out the pre-course survey.

Getting started

If this is your first time using FutureLearn, you might find this guide helpful.

Our educators

Dr Elaine Lee is a midwife of 20 years and a Senior Lecturer at the University of Dundee, responsible for internationalisation and research degrees in the School of Nursing and Health Sciences. She is also a lead educator with the Scottish Improvement Science Collaborating Centre (SISCC).


Your hosts, Laura Underwood and Helen Meadows, can help you with technical issues and will chat with you in discussions.


Our course contributors are involved in medicine, nursing, midwifery, geography, public health and other related fields. Many are associated with the Scottish Improvement Science Collaborating Centre. Thank you to everyone who contributed.

Prove what you’ve learned with a certificate

If you want a record of your course, you can upgrade your course for a Certificate of Achievement when you are eligible.

The Certificate of Achievement is a great way to prove what you have learned on the course and is evidence of your Continuing Professional Development. This is a personalised certificate and transcript, detailing the syllabus and learning outcomes from the course. It comes as a printed certificate as well as a digital version which you can add to your LinkedIn profile. To qualify, you must have marked at least 90% of the steps in the course complete.

Upgrading will also give you unlimited access to the course. You can go at your own pace and return to the material whenever you like, with access to the course for as long as it exists on FutureLearn.

Find out more.

A bit about context

Before we get going, we need to explain some decisions we’ve made about the scope and context of the course.

Health and social inequalities look very different around the globe. We’ll use Scotland as our example, so all our comparisons are with developed countries where the comparison makes sense. We won’t attempt to address the significant inequalities experienced in low-income countries where the issues are much more extreme. We can’t examine the impact of famine or war in the course content, for example, as doing this would require more time than we have. But, should you have observations related to this that you wish to share, please do where appropriate in discussions. We also acknowledge but are not including the UK’s decision to leave the European Union. As ‘Brexit’ is at an early stage and the impact is unknown, we can’t consider it in a meaningful way at this point. But, future runs of this course may reflect the impact once decisions emerge.

All of the data sources are provided in the References list at the end of the course, and, where possible, we have linked to the sources of statistical data.

We have used the most recently available data at the time of production, but if you require the most up-to-date data available, please check the data sources directly as new information may have been published since development of the course.

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Tackling Inequalities Through Health and Social Care Design

University of Dundee