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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Perceptions of public health and cross-sectoral collaboration in low SES neighbourhoods in Denmark

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Cross-sectoral interventions in low socio-economic status (SES) neighbourhoods are an important contribution to reducing social inequities in health. This article investigates the health perceptions among professionals from public health, social and place-based initiatives, all working in low SES neighbourhoods in Denmark, and what implications these perceptions have on their work with health promotion and on collaboration between the initiatives. Empirically, we draw on 63 semi-structured interviews with frontline professionals across area-based initiatives (ABIs), social housing development plans (SHDPs) and municipal public health departments (PHDs). Our study shows that professionals across all sectors perceive it as important to work with a broad understanding of health to motivate and reach hard-to-reach groups in low SES neighbourhoods as opposed to a more narrow perspective on health and health promotion focussed on lifestyles and monitoring risks. The aims and practice of ABIs and SHDPs support work in line with a broad understanding of health, whereas frontline workers from the PHDs in practice more often end up applying a more narrow understanding of health. Consequently, real collaboration is infrequent and often confined to the coordination of activities. This limits the possibilities of implementing effective interventions in low SES neighbourhoods to reduce inequities in health. This article claims that there is a greater potential for synergy among different initiatives in low SES neighbourhoods if a broad understanding of health can be applied in practice across sectors.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHealth Promotion International
Volume35
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)21–31
ISSN0957-4824
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020

ID: 56416881