While Sweden’s public health has seen improvement over time, notable health disparities persist among various societal groups, and not everyone has equal opportunities for good health. To address these challenges, Forte has granted SEK 230 million to support ten six-year research programmes dedicated to enhancing the understanding of health promotion and preventive measures within the eight key areas of the public health policy.

Each of the funded research programmes has received a maximum grant of SEK 24 million over a period of six years. This funding initiative is part of the governmental commission to implement a special effort on research about prevention and public health that Forte received in 2020.

Focus on prevention and public health

Fortes initiative is based on the overarching goals of the Swedish public health policy, which aim to create societal conditions for good and equal health in the entire population, and to close the health gaps within a generation.

The goal is to enhance the knowledge of health promotion and preventive measures across various contexts and groups. This also encompasses interventions aimed at addressing the health gaps among national minority populations and socioeconomically disadvantaged groups.

– Preventive and health-promoting work focusing on equality is central because health and disease are unequally distributed within the population. This work is important for specific communities, individuals, and society. On an individual level, it can lead to an improved quality of life, longer life, and reduced suffering. On a societal level, it can result in more fair access to and use of welfare services, such as healthcare, social services, and caregiving. This initiative is crucial for both social and economic sustainability and is a high-priority research area at Forte, says Teresia Weinberg, Research Secretary at Forte and responsible for the initiative.

Addressing health inequalities

A robust public health means that as many people as possible in society benefit from good health, both physically and mentally, and that health is evenly distributed among different groups. Public health in Sweden generally improves for the population. However, in specific areas and among certain groups, progress is less pronounced. Our health and healthy lifestyles depend on various factors, including where and how we live, the environment we live in, childhood and upbringing, education, and employment. As individuals, we can only influence these factors to a limited extent, and they often vary among different social and socioeconomic groups. Hence, research and knowledge about how society can be transformed to enable more equal conditions for good health are vital.

Funded research programmes

– The funded research programmes involve a wide range of prevention arenas, such as the workplace, housing, occupational health services, child healthcare and preschool. Together, they address health challenges that are relevant to groups of all ages and different stages of life. We will follow these programmes with great interest and are convinced that they will contribute with valuable knowledge to the effort for a more equal health, says Teresia.

Please see a list of the grant decision for the call