Photo: gtmcknight

Corporations and Health Watch: A Resource for Those Seeking to Reduce Corporate Harms to Health

Photo: gtmcknight

This week Corporations and Health Watch introduces its redesigned website, created to help health researchers, professionals, activists and students to learn more and exchange information about the role of corporations in premature death and preventable illnesses and injuries.   

The new design enables readers to email posts to friends or colleagues and share CHW news on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and other social network sites.  We also improved our site search function and re-organized our archives.

Corporations and Health Watch started five years ago with the goal of creating a space for those concerned about the role of corporations in producing health and disease today.  Its focus is on six industries –alcohol, automobiles, firearms, food and beverages, pharmaceuticals and tobacco—that play a central and growing role in global morbidity and mortality and contribute to health inequalities.  We selected these six because of their well-documented public health significance, the centrality of these industries to the global consumer economy – and because each has sparked resistance from individuals, organizations, government, and social movements.  We understand that other industries, e.g., energy, military, finance, and health care, also play an important role in health but choose to focus on those whose primary harm is through exposure of consumers to their products and practices. 

CHW is based on several basic principles:

  1.  The products and the business and political practices of corporations are an important social determinant of health, especially of chronic diseases and injuries, two growing threats to health.
  2. Modifying corporate practices that harm health holds promise as an effective strategy to reduce the world’s most serious health problems.
  3. Individuals and organizations seeking to change the practices of a single industry (e.g., tobacco, food and beverages, firearms) can learn from analyzing the successes and failures of those working to change practices of other industries.
  4. Although corporations are only one part of our current free market economy,  their decisions have a major influence on health.  Expanding the public health paradigm to include changing the behavior of corporations and their allies as well as individuals has the potential to enhance our effectiveness.
  5. Analyzing the pathways and mechanisms by which specific corporate practices influence health and the comparative effectiveness of various strategies to reduce harmful practices are major public health scientific priorities.

Each week, CHW posts an essay analyzing current developments and a few short news items.  Every month, we distribute electronically a free newsletter summarizing our stories of the past month.  To subscribe, click here.  Our writers are public health researchers and activists based at universities, research institutes, or advocacy organizations. 

We ask readers to share this resource with interested colleagues, students and friends.  We look forward to your comments, questions and contributions.