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Radical health

The best way to do things is not always the most obvious. Youth work is often about dealing with the here and now stuff as well as the ‘…let’s try and help it be better in the future…’ type stuff. The following is from an interview on Radio National’s Health Report with Michael Marmot an expatriate Australian who’s Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London.

Michael Marmot: ‘In East London there’s a general practice that’s in a heavily immigrant area, 40% of their patients are Bangladeshi they teach them English.

Norman Swan: They teach them English in the general practice?

Michael Marmot: The teach them English, well the general practice is part of the community centre and they have 100 different programs, language classes, occupational skills training, helping people with job interviews, community development, early child development. Now they’ve been challenged, I was on the BBC with a general practitioner and the interviewer said, ‘But it’s not your job, you’re supposed to treat patients aren’t you, what are you doing, doing all that?’

And the interviewer turned to me and said, ‘Should he be doing this?’ And I said ‘Well of course, how can people stay well if they can’t get a job, they’ve got to be into work, they’ve got to earn money, they’ve got to have a role in society if their health is going to improve.’

This is very cool stuff and very relevant for youth work. If we want to have impact on X maybe we don’t spend too much time on X itself…but what leads up to it…

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