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Public Health

Social determinants - Pilot projects funded by the European Parliament

Pilot projects are designed to test the feasibility and usefulness of specific activities. They are used to try out different approaches, develop evidence-based strategies, identify good practices, and provide policy guidance for the benefit of possible future initiatives in health.

The European Commission's agreements with various contractors are based on their approaches in the chosen proposals and provide them with the necessary scope for their execution. Boards of scientific experts provide robust guidelines for projects and validate their tools, including websites.

VulnerABLE: Improving the health of those in isolated and vulnerable situations


Implemented between 2015 and 2017, the project aimed to explore ways to improve the health of people who are living in vulnerable and isolated situations across Europe.

Its focus was on nine specific vulnerable and isolated populations, namely children and families from disadvantaged backgrounds, those living in rural/isolated areas, with physical disabilities or poor mental health, the long-term unemployed, the inactive, those from lower income brackets, the elderly, victims of domestic violence and intimate partner violence, the homeless, and prisoners.

Project implementation

Over its two-year lifespan, the 'VulnerABLE' project involved:

  • Interviews with individuals and organisations working on health inequalities
  • Detailed research into the health needs of people in isolated and vulnerable situations, through a face-to-face survey and in-depth focus groups
  • Bringing together the leading thinkers in this area and enabling them to contribute to future strategies to prevent isolation and vulnerability
  • Training materials and capacity-building workshops for national and regional authorities who are active in delivering healthcare services
  • Regular news updates, direct communication with experts and a one-day conference to spread awareness of the project's findings.

If you would like to find out more please contact vulnerABLEaticf [dot] com (vulnerABLE[at]icf[dot]com)

Project output

Related information

HEPP – Maintaining a focus on health inequalities


This pilot project provided support for knowledge sharing and policy development to reduce health inequalities in the EU, with a focus on the lifestyle determinants such as alcohol consumption, nutrition and physical activity, particularly in Member States with the greatest needs. The three-year HEPP project started in January 2016 and finished in December 2018.

The project aimed to reach the above aims by:

  • Updating scientific evidence and reviewing policies and actions
  • Conducting case studies on policies and actions in different Member States
  • Implementing workshops and expert exchange to break barriers to inter-sectoral action on health inequalities
  • Ensuring synergies and support to the health determinants in related Joint Actions
  • Facilitating information exchange and collaboration between groups of experts and stakeholders

Project deliverables:

The project has delivered the following outputs:

If you would like to find out more please contact chris [dot] brookesatukhealthforum [dot] org [dot] uk (chris[dot]brookes[at]ukhealthforum[dot]org[dot]uk.)

Related information

Health4LGBTI: Reducing health inequalities experienced by LGBTI people


Implemented between March 2016 and March 2018, the aim of this pilot project was to improve our understanding of how best to reduce specific health inequalities experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people. It focused on overlapping inequalities stemming from discrimination and unfair treatment on other grounds (e.g. age, status, income).

LGBTI people continue to experience stigma and discrimination combined with social isolation and limited understanding, leading to significant barriers in terms of accessing health and social care services. These experiences can translate into a risk of depression, suicide and self‐harm, violence, substance misuse and HIV infection.

Project implementation

The Health4LGBTI project activities included:

  • Research (scoping review, scientific review, focus groups) into health needs and challenges faced by LGBTI people and key barriers faced by health professionals when providing care for LGBTI people.
  • Development of a training package aimed at increasing the knowledge, attitudes and skills of healthcare professionals when providing healthcare to LGBTI people.
  • Piloting of the training package in 6 countries (Belgium, Bulgaria, Italy, Lithuania, Poland and UK).
  • A final European conference in Brussels on 1-2 February 2018 presenting the results of the project.

Project output

The project produced the following results:

In addition, an evaluation report from the pilot training as well as the summary report from the final conference (which took place on 1-2 February 2018) and the results of the evaluation were produced.

For more information, please contact Massimo Mirandola, Verona University Hospital (massimo [dot] mirandolaataovr [dot] veneto [dot] it (massimo[dot]mirandola[at]aovr[dot]veneto[dot]it)).

Related information

GenCAD: Gender-specific mechanisms in coronary artery disease in Europe


This European pilot aims to improve the understanding of gender in addressing chronic diseases, using coronary heart disease (CAD) as an example to highlight differences in treatment and prevention. Existing evidence is sometimes incomplete, and findings are rarely presented to the medical community and public.

Over its three-year lifespan (from February 2015), the GenCAD project aims to:

  • Analyse existing knowledge on gender differences in CAD risk factors, disease mechanisms, clinical manifestations, treatment options, access to health care, as well as management and outcomes.
  • Assess awareness of health professionals and general population to identify the most effective practices to raise awareness about sex and gender manifestations of CAD
  • Develop and disseminate information material based on the outcomes of the studies, surveys, and comprehensive needs assessment.

If you are interested in joining the GenCAD project, you can get involved in the conferences and workshops by contacting Nicholas Alexander, Institute for Gender in Medicine, Charité Universitaetsmedizin Berlin (infoatgencad [dot] eu (info[at]gencad[dot]eu)).

Related information


Final Report