Welcome Sir Michael Marmot

By , 2015-10-30 12:33 上午

Sir Marmot and Youngsters - GHF 20151101CDear Sir Marmot, Director General Chiou, Leo, and All Youngsters,

I’m so happy to meet Sir Michael Marmot again in Taiwan. He is my hero.

In 1988, I was recruited by our government to plan the national health insurance, which was fully implemented in 1995. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the national health insurance, and we are all proud of what it has achieved.

But for me, this year also marks my 20 years commitment to the study of social determinants of health (SDH). I presented my first SDH paper in the Memorial Symposium for Former Health Minister Tzu-chiu Hsu on March 23, 1998, which was published later in the British Medical Journal (1999;319;1162-5).

My presentation on health inequalities in Taiwan become a headline news of Min Sheng Daily next day. But, regretfully the news attracted no attention at all because people in Taiwan were too happy with the achievements of the National Health Insurance at that time.

Why we have to study social determinants of health? That is, we have in mind the goal of health for all, and not merely health care for all.

The goal of health for all is clear and simple, but the mission to reduce health inequalities through action on social determinants of health is tough and full of challenges. Then what we need?

First of all, we need mentors or guiding stars. I was very lucky to meet Professor Marmot first time at the SDH Asia network meeting in Tokyo in 2006. His invitation is very meaningful to me, which gave me courage to keep going!

Second, we need partners and friends. Also, luckily I find more and more partners and friends on the road to address health inequalities. I appreciate Director General ST Chiou very much. With her strong commitment, we have recently witnessed significant progress in Taiwan, including the newly released report: Health Inequalities in Taiwan.

The seed of the Report was planted in 2010 when Professor Marmot first visited Taiwan and attended the Global Health Forum. In the welcome dinner he advised ST & me that Taiwan should have its own health inequality report. Later when ST received an award from the Cabinet in 2013, she decided to take the opportunity to work with Professor Marmot to prepare this Report.

Last but not least, we always need new bloods, new partners like Leo and all other youngsters in this room. Two weeks ago, Leo came to my office and told me he knew Professor Marmot would visit Taiwan. He asked me if possible to organize a meeting for youngsters like him to meet the Master. I told him it was a great idea and would do my best to help him and his friends.

Thanks to the kindness and permission from Professor Marmot and ST, today we all are gathering in this special meeting. Now I would like Director General Chiou to say a few words before giving the mic to our host Leo. Dr. Chiou, please!


* Opening remark for The youth session with Sir Michael Marmot, 2015 Global Health Forum in Taiwan.

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