Social medicine is the study of health in its widest sense. It recognizes the broad determinants of health – income and poverty, education, environmental factors such as housing and transport – as well as health care and genetic influences. The Society aims to promote the development of scientific knowledge in social medicine. This covers a range of subjects including epidemiology, the medical and health needs of society, the provision and organization of health services and the prevention of disease.
The nature of social medicine requires a multi-disciplinary approach to the development of scientific knowledge. The disciplines involved include medicine, epidemiology, statistics, economics, social science and many others. Membership of the Society is open to anyone whose work is consistent with the Society’s objective. This inclusive criterion has led to a membership which comes from many disciplines and backgrounds but which shares research interests and methodologies.
To achieve its objective, the Society holds an annual scientific meeting, and one or two other scientific meetings each year which focus on particular themes. The formats of the meetings allow for presentations by leading authorities in their fields, reports of new research findings, and opportunities for developing and maintaining networks and friendships. The Society also maintains a website, distributes a newsletter and other relevant material to its members, and responds to consultation documents. The Society is affiliated to the European Public Health Association and is a member of the International Epidemiological Association’s European Epidemiology Federation.
The Society was founded in 1956.