By: Patricia Valoy | Contributing Editor for Science and Social Justice
Last year I quit my job, lost my steady source of income, lost my health insurance, and learned I was pregnant all in the course of 2 weeks. I am college educated, a professional, 30 years old, and with a wealth of resources at my disposal from many years of feminist activism, yet I found myself terrified of what lay ahead of me, and wondering how I got myself in such a situation. I could no longer go to the ob-gyn who had been my doctor for 10 years, and the only local doctor that accepted Medicaid (the only health insurance I could get without any income) was severely overworked and lacked the most basic of equipment. My first two appointments I waited for over 4 hours, and on one occasion the sonogram machine was not working. I grew up poor in New York City and very familiar with the severe lack of health infrastructure that affects the most vulnerable, but the thought of not having adequate health care during my first pregnancy terrified me.
This course critically examines health status and health care disparities among racial/ethnic minority groups in the United States. We will review the complex relationship between social class (socioeconomic status) and health status, the effect of race/ethnicity on health outcomes and access to healthcare, and specific health issues for major racial/ethnic minority groups in the U.S. The topics include conceptual issues central to understanding how low socioeconomic status leads to poor health, understanding how conscious, unconscious, and institutionalized racial bias affects medical care and health outcomes, and addressing ideas for reducing health disparities among racial/ethnic minorities. Jiwon Jeon, Ph.D. The University of Texas at Austin View Syllabus
Racism is making people sick — especially black women and babies, says Miriam Zoila Pérez. The doula turned journalist explores the relationship between race, class and illness and tells us about a radically compassionate prenatal care program that can buffer pregnant women from the stress that people of color face every day.
By Bram Wispelwey
On June 1, 21-year-old volunteer medic Razan Al Najjar was shot and killed by an Israeli sniper in Gaza as she was attempting to provide first aid to an injured protester. As the Palestinian Medical Relief Society points out, “Shooting at medical personnel is a war crime under the Geneva conventions, as is shooting at children, journalists and unarmed civilians.” As we mourn the death of Najjar, Bram Wispelwey, a doctor working in the Aida Refugee Camp in the West Bank, shares his account of the political violence and resistance taking place in Palestine.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haLU32C-A34 At the age of 27, Azza Jadalla has already lived through six wars. She is a cancer nurse in Gaza’s main hospital, Al-Shifa. Every day she deals with fall-out of the on-going conflict between Israel and Gaza’s ruling party, Hamas. Living in a place with a failing economy means she faces daily electricity and supply shortages at work. “Sometime we go for two or three months without pay,” she says. “But this doesn’t make me want to do my job any less, because it’s not the patient’s fault.” This year’s season features two weeks of inspirational stories about the BBC’s 100 Women and others who are defying stereotypes around the world.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02MgwqJk95Y Al-Jazeera gives an in-depth report of the origins and effects of the cholera epidemic in Haiti.
By Joia Mukherjee
Haiti, January 17, 2018. This country and people taught me what I know about justice and injustice. I have dedicated my life to working with others to provide medical care to poor people in Africa, Haiti and other places that the President of the United States of America recently deemed “shithole” countries. The cries of outrage are deafening from the so-called left and inaudible from the so-called right. Yet, my Haitian friends, while disgusted, are not shocked. “Trump” they say, “is honest. He says what others think of us, how others treat us, but they say it in a softer way.”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuG9AVTNhyA Stefano Vella is a clinician and a researcher. He is based in Rome, at the Italian National Institute of Health. His research focus has been mainly based on his infectious diseases and internal medicine backgrounds, addressing HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, viral hepatitis, neglected tropical diseases, but also non communicable chronic diseases.
“Alina” is an excerpt from Lavil: Life, Love and Death in Port au Prince, an immersive and engrossing oral history collection edited by Peter Orner and Evan Lyon
How we live in relationship with others when practicing global health is personal and fundamental. This is even more urgent as “America First” threatens to bury the USA’s commitment to global health. Despite the overwhelming list of pressing issues threatening today’s world, we must keep focus on people, on each other. Lavil: Life, Love, and Death in Port Au Prince, edited by Peter Orner, a writer and story teller, and Evan Lyon, a global health practitioner, is a beautiful and tragic collection of intimate, raw narratives from Haitians in post-earthquake Haiti. It is a reminder of the fact that when we as global health leaders and practitioners become removed from the lives of the patients and communities that we serve, we lose our way.
By Social Medicine Consortium Members of the Social Medicine Consortium have recommended the following resources for those interested in deepening their understanding of social medicine. The Social Medicine Consortium does not claim ownership over the following documents, except where indicated. Click here for the Readings, Resources and Publications. Toolkit for Teaching Social Medicine SMC Toolkit Guide