Oluwatosin Alade

We thank Oluwatosin Alade (Coventry University student) for writing this article whilst on a work placement with the Coventry HDRC in May.

This article describes Oluwatosin’s experience and reflections after attending reflective workshops delivered by the Marmot partnership.

Last month, embarking on a public health internship was a significant moment in my academic journey, offering a unique opportunity to witness the inner workings of the public health sector at Coventry City Council, and the Health Determinants Research Collaboration (HDRC) team.

Sir Michael Marmot, a pioneer in social determinants of health, advocates that health inequalities are not as a result of genetic predispositions or individual choices but are significantly influenced by social determinants such as education, employment, and living conditions. Coventry became the first “Marmot City” in 2013 (there are now around 50), to tackle these social determinants as a city.

Marmot reflection workshops were held at Moat House Family Hub, Job Shop, and Friargate over the 15th – 17th May 2024. The workshops were set to bring together different people from various sectors and organizations involved in the Marmot Partnership to reflect upon the Marmot journey so far and the progress made, where Coventry is now, and how to move forward.

Despite some challenges including related to lack of investment and COVID-19, attendees talked about the positive improvements made. The workshops identified themes around tackling inequalities through designated collaborative efforts with other Marmot partners. People were proud of Coventry, and one attendee said there were, “lots of organizations who have been inspired to take up Marmot because of Coventry”. Some attendees recommended that the Partnership should share more about the good stories, to spread the word about the Marmot approach and the benefits of proportionate universalism.

The multidisciplinary approach was not just theoretical; it was action-oriented, with tangible projects and policies being developed and implemented. The Marmot sessions were the cornerstone of this realization as I observed how different sectors collaborated towards common health goals.

One project that particularly inspired me was an initiative aimed at making Coventry an electricity bus city as this will significantly reduce pollution in the city. Witnessing the enthusiasm and commitment of all these sectors collaborating for a common cause was profoundly inspiring. Understanding that effective advocacy involves not only scientific evidence, but also strategic communication and political acumen was a crucial takeaway from these sessions. The Marmot sessions were transformative, showcasing the commitment and enthusiasm of various sectors dedicated to improving public health.

marmot city workshop

To read more about the Marmot partnership, see the Marmot Monitoring Tool: https://www.coventry.gov.uk/marmot-monitoring-tool

You can also read the independent evaluation of Coventry, published in 2020: https://www.instituteofhealthequity.org/resources-reports/coventry-marmot-city-evaluation-2020


Published: Thursday, 30th May 2024