Equity in (primary) health care

Presentation of unit

Our mission is twofold:

  • to contribute to the growing insight on equity in the context of access to health care, health care processes and the outcome of health care
  • to contribute to tackling social inequity in health. We devote to the development and implementation of an educational continuum on health equity and social diversity in divers (para)medic courses within the faculty and advise health care and policy actors on social inequity in health & health care.

This interdisciplinary research unit is founded and supervised by prof. Sara Willems, Europe’s first professor holding a chair in equity in health care.


  • Social gradient in health (care)
  • social inequity in health (care)
  • accessibility
  • diversity poverty
  • social vulnerability
  • patient safety
  • prison health
  • health as a human right
  • community oriented primary care
  • interdisciplinary collaboration

Main activities


  • “Gezondheid en Maatschappij I (Bach 1 geneeskunde)”
    • Lecture introduction medical antropology
    • Lecture and workshop on professional competenties to deal with social diversity
    • Lecture introduction in medical sociology: social inequity in health – social determinants of health
    • Tutorial social inequity in health
    • Lecture human rights
    • Minidebate health & migration
  • “Gezondheid en Maatschappij II (Bach 3 geneeskunde)”
    • COPC (Community Oriented Primary Care) week: Interdisciplinary project week on community oriented primary care, focusing on interprofessional collaboration and cultursensitive care. Goal = exploration of care needs of the patientpopulation within their local context.
  • “Samenleving & gezondheid (schakelprogramma Master in Gezondheidsvoorlichting & Management en beleid in de gezondheidszorg)”
    • Lecture introduction medical antropology
    • Lecture introduction in medical sociology: social inequity in health – social determinants of health



  • CATCH (Community sport for AT-risk youth: Innovative strategies for promoting personal development, health and social CoHesion) (2015-2019)
  • This interuniversity research project focusses on the influence of community sport initiatives for the social inclusion of at risk
    Website: buurtsport.vlaanderen/catch
  • Community coach Nieuw Gent (2019-2020)
    Scientific evaluation of the community coach project within vzw Voetbal in de Stad (KAA Gent Foundation) within the neighbourhood ‘Nieuw Gent – Steenakker’. Within the community coach project, a range of low-threshold, accessible activities is organized for young people in the neighbourhood.
  • Social inequity in patient safety (2019-2025)
    PhD-research project on determinants of social inequity in patient safety in primary care, looking for explanations at the level of patients, care providers and practice organization.
  • “Gent Knapt Op” (ICCarus project - Improving housing Conditions for CAptive Residents in Ghent) (2019-2021)
    Scientific evaluation of the health impact of the ICCarus-project.  100 low quality dwellings in the city of Ghent will be renovated, in which candidates will be unburdened and supported technically, financially, administrative and socially. This will be done using a recurring fund, which enables the public budget to be used over and over again to improve living conditions of citizens in vulnerable living situations.  
  • Equity in primary care in Brazil (2019-2023)
    PhD-research exploring equity dimensions in primary healthcare in Brazil

List of most important projects

  • QUALICOPC (Quality and Costs of Primary Care in Europe) study
    Evaluation of primary care systems in Europe in terms of quality, costs and equity in 31 European countries, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
    Website: www.qualicopc.eu
    Funded by the European Commission (FP7).
  • Kans (Kwetsbaarheid Aanpakken in de Samenleving)
    Longitudinal exploration of care use, care trajectories and care satisfaction in welfare users in a socio-societal vulnerable position (psychological and/or financial vulnerability).
    Supported by the Flemish ministry of Welfare, Health and Family
  • Equity in access to primary health care for children
    Analyses in the health region of in the state of São Paulo
    In collaboration with Universidade Federal de São Paulo
    Funded by  Fundação CAPES
  • Educating Health Professionals to address the social determinants of health
    Literature review to fortify the evidence-base regarding teaching social determinants of health to future health professionals.  
    Funded by IOM
  • SWING: Social capital and Well-being in Neighbourhoods in Ghent
    Research project on the moderating effect of socioeconomic factors on the association between social capital and health.
    Data collection on health and social capital at the level of inhabitants and neighbourhoods in 142 neighbourhoods in Ghent.
    Funded by FWO
  • Accessibility of preventive care
    In collaboration with Domus Medica VZW.
    Set of short research projects, ranging from a literature review on the accessibility of e-health and a feasibility study using tables to collect preventive health data from patients in vulnerable position.  
    In collaboration  met CVKO: qualitative research on barriers to participation of cervix and colon cancer screening for vulnerable subpopulations.


Team Leader

Independent accademic Staff

Affiliated Independent Academic Staff

Post doc

  • Dr. Susan Lagaert
  • Dr. Wendelien Vantieghem (postdoc departmental collaboration ) 
  • Dr. Kaat Van Roy


  • Esther Van Poel

Scientific staff

  • Bianca di Silva
  • Christine Leyns
  • Karen Vanderveken
  • Dorien Vanden Bossche
  • Thibault Detremerie


Contact data


Administrative staff Claudine Lodomez: +32 9 332 35 42