Sir Harry Burns, Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, gave the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries' (IFoA's) Autumn Lecture on 10 October 2011.
Sir Harry has been Chief Medical Officer for Scotland since 2005 and is a noted expert in the field of public health.
In this lecture he examines the reasons behind Scotland having the lowest life expectancy in western Europe and suggests that rather than conventional risk factors such as smoking and obesity, socioeconomic mechanisms seem to be the main drivers of premature mortality in the unhealthiest regions of Scotland.
The lecture offers a synthesis of evidence from a range of disciplines including psychology, evolutionary biology and molecular genetics to explain the biological consequences of social adversity. It also offers a view on how we need to alter our approach to health improvement in the light of such evidence.
In addition, at this event Professor Angus Macdonald of Heriot-Watt University was awarded the Finlaison Medal in recognition of his services to the actuarial profession.
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