Session 9. Health inequalities

Social determinants of health: novel and comprehensive approaches..

. José Luis Peñalvo
  Tenured Scientist at the National Center for Epidemiology of the Carlos III Institute of Health

Dr. Peñalvo, a Tenured Scientist at the National Center for Epidemiology of the Carlos III Institute of Health, leads pioneering research into the epidemiology of cardiometabolic diseases. Concurrently, he serves as an Associate Professor at the Global Health Institute of the University of Antwerp, as an extension of his prior role a Full Professor at the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) in Antwerp, Belgium, where he developed the Unit of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) over the course of five years.

His professional journey is marked by a rich international career, with impactful tenures at renowned institutions including the University of Helsinki, the Spanish National Center for Cardiovascular Research, Tufts University, and Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Peñalvo's solid background encompasses clinical research and epidemiological methodologies, spanning from designing prevention strategies to evaluating their outcomes and impacts, to modeling the effects of population-based policies aimed at curbing NCD-related burdens. Dr. Peñalvo's research interests lean towards a life-course approach to health, and understanding the impact that biological, physical, and social exposures from childhood through later adult life, have on chronic disease development.

He has developed advanced methodologies for forecasting the influence of lifestyle on disease outcomes across diverse population groups, with an emphasis on vulnerable populations, and informing the formulation of equitable population-based strategies, addressing health disparities, ensuring that interventions are inclusive and effective across all strata of society.


  • Research consistently shows that lower socioeconomic status is linked to higher diabetes burden. These disparities are influenced by quantifiable, and therefore actionable, factors related to access to healthcare, education level, and lifestyle habits.
  • Population-based interventions such as providing subsidies for healthy foods, and implementing community-based education programs can be measured for their impact on diabetes prevalence and outcomes.
  • Addressing inequalities in the distribution of diabetes at the population level requires a comprehensive approach that includes equitable policy interventions, community engagement, and tailored care plans. The effectiveness of these policies can be anticipated from modeling studies, helping prioritizing public health strategies.


Beating health inequalities: Ensuring diversity competen care by inclusive clinical research

. Kamlesh Khunti
  Professor of Primary Care Diabetes and Vascular Medicine at the University of Leicester

Kamlesh Khunti is Professor of Primary Care Diabetes and Vascular Medicine at the University of Leicester, UK. He is Director of Leicester Diabetes Centre, Director of the UK National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) in Applied Research Collaborations (ARC) East Midlands, Director of Centre for Ethnic Health Research and Director of The Real-World Evidence Unit. He leads a programme of work on cardiometabolic diseases and multimorbidity. He was recently been appointed as Director of the first NIHR Global Health Research Centre for Multiple Long-Term Conditions and Co-lead for the Cross NIHR Collaboration for Multiple Long-Term Conditions.

He is the national NIHR ARC Lead for Multimorbidity and the leads the national training programme for Multimorbidity. He has led a programme of work during the Covid-19 pandemic and is a member of UK Governments Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and Chair of the SAGE Ethnicity Sub-panel. He has published over 1400 peer-reviewed articles. (Link to full list of Professor Khunti’s publications via Google Scholar) He is Chair of the American Diabetes Association Therapeutic Inertia Initiative and is currently a Member of the KDIGO Diabetes and CKD Guidelines and a Member of the ADA Standards of Care Guidelines for Diabetes. He has won numerous awards nationally and internationally including ‘Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Award for Excellence in Medical Research, India’. He was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2022 New Year’s Honour’s List for services to health. 

  • Cardiometabolic conditions are the commonest chronic conditions globally.
  •  Research shows that social determinants of health influence health outcomes in people with cardiometabolic conditions.
  •  Improving social determinants of health should be a key priority for policy makers to reduce health inequalities.