UW Graduate School

Ichiro Kawachi

Walker-Ames Speaker

  • John L. Loeb and Frances Lehman Loeb professor of social epidemiology, and chair of the Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

February 22, 2017  |   7:30 p.m.
Kane Hall, room 130

  • This lecture has reached capacity. As a courtesy, the Graduate School will offer standby seating on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 6:45 p.m. in Kane Hall. Any reserved seats not taken by 7:15 p.m. will be offered to our guests in the standby line.

This event is free and open to the public. To ensure seating, you must register in advance.

Income Inequality and Population Health: An Update

Inequality in the distribution of wealth and income has grown steadily in American society for the past forty years. It is about as skewed today as it was in 1928. Inequality in the wake of the 2008 recession is widely perceived as unfair, as stifling of economic opportunity, and as a threat to the democratic function. But is it a threat to population health? In this talk, Dr. Ichiro Kawachi will summarize the contested evidence linking income inequality to worse population health. He will argue that income inequality is detrimental to public health on three grounds: a) because high levels of inequality imply that people in the lower parts of the income distribution are poorer than they otherwise would be (the concavity effect), b) because inequality produces a variety of negative spillover effects on society, including the erosion of social cohesion (a pollution effect), and c) because inequality creates frustration and stress for those who are left behind, while the well-off gradually accept these disparities as a normal state of affairs.

About Ichiro Kawachi

Ichiro Kawachi, MB.Ch.B., Ph.D., is John L. Loeb and Frances Lehman Loeb professor of social epidemiology, and chair of the Social & Behavioral Sciences Department at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Kawachi received both his medical degree and Ph.D. (in epidemiology) from the University of Otago, New Zealand. He has taught at the Harvard School of Public Health since 1992. Kawachi is the co-editor (with Lisa Berkman) of the first textbook on social epidemiology, published by Oxford University Press in 2000 (new & revised edition published in 2014). His other books include “Neighborhoods and Health” (Oxford University Press, 2003); “Globalization and Health” (Oxford University Press, 2006); “Social Capital and Health” (Springer, 2008); the “Oxford Handbook of Public Health Practice” co-edited with Charles Guest and others (Oxford University Press, 2013), and “Behavioral Economics and Public Health” co-edited with Christina Roberto (Oxford University Press, 2015). His current project is focused on the longitudinal impacts of community social cohesion/social capital on functional recovery after the March 11, 2011, great eastern Japan earthquake and tsunami. In 2013, he launched a massive, open online course (MOOC) through HarvardX called “Health and Society” (PHx 201), in which 32,000 participants registered from throughout the world. Kawachi is the co-editor-in-chief (with S.V. Subramanian) of the international journal Social Science & Medicine. He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

Sponsoring Departments:

  • UW Graduate School
  • UW Alumni Association
  • Department of Global Health
  • Department of Health Services
  • School of Public Health
  • School of Social Work
  • School of Medicine
  • Department of Epidemiology
  • Department of Sociology
  • Department of Geography
  • Department of Anthropology
  • UW Medical Center