health

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Doulas and Midwives of Color Are The Key to Reproductive and Birth Justice

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.

Biopolitics in Palestine: Community Health, Political Violence, and Daily Resistance 

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.

Global Health in the Trump Era: Reflections on the Backlash

By Michelle Morse, MD, MPH | Contributing Editor for Global Health

Over the past thirty years, American medicine has witnessed an unprecedented expansion in global health engagement amongst its trainees and faculty, partially, if not largely, fueled by the health care injustices lived so dramatically by patients in resource-limited countries around the world during the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Initially seen as disruptive, the interventions in the health sectors of Global South countries by American health professionals were eventually accepted as essential acts in the movement towards achieving global health equity. As America experiences the Trump era, endless questions have arisen amongst global health professionals about the implications of Trump’s “America first” platform on global health. Will Trump’s nationalist agenda eliminate funding for life-saving global health programs, cause progressive health professionals engaged in global health to make a reactionary turn towards the fire at home, and even force global health practitioners to more closely examine their own prejudices?

One Week of Poems on Love and Terror

By adrienne maree brown

In this moment, when the future is so uncertain, Praxis Center turns to poetic offerings by adrienne maree brown. As she wrote on her blog, “i still believe it is the core work of our species – to reason, to feel, to reconcile power and brilliance and compassion, to expand into our miraculous potential. i am relinquishing whatever illusions make me think i know the future, and making more room to co-create something worth living into. i am learning to create futures/poems/stories about what i don’t know, what i can’t explain, where i am not sure.” 

As we continue to do the work of building a more humane and just world, our words can help move, shape, and inspire us. We are “learning as we go.”

Towards an Age-Friendly World

By Michelle Lugalia-Hollon, Contributing Editor, Global Health

By 2050, a full 25% of the world’s population will be 65 years old or older and their life expectancies are expected to increase as well. By 2020, the number of older people will double and outnumber the number of children younger than 5 years of age. This demographic shift has numerous implications for the health and state of the world, and many communities will have to rise to the challenge of preparing themselves for an older society.  

Standing Our Ground

By Regina Stevens-Truss, Contributing Editor, Science and Social Justice

When did we lose our humanity and accept circumstances in which we are allowed to say, “I have a right to be here and to prove that I’m going to shoot you”?  As I ponder on the multitude of “stand your ground” laws that have been enacted in states across the country, I agree, in one sense, that we all have a right to be wherever we want to be. In fact, the Declaration of Independence gives all Americans the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” After all, this is the United States of America, the welcoming land, is it not? What I disagree with is this:

“The law removes a person’s duty to retreat before using deadly force against another in any place he has the legal right to be – so long as he reasonably believed he or someone else faced imminent death or great bodily harm.”

But if we all step back and think about this law, it suggests that retreating is equivalent to cowardice, which is ridiculous. When one is faced with a life or death situation, retreating can be the wise and brave thing to do.

Okay, so I can imagine what you might be thinking right about now: “not another piece on Florida’s stand your ground cases.” But rest assured, what I actually want to suggest is that there are other important issues we should stand our ground on: education, health, and climate change. With so many pressing issues of life and death in the world today, perhaps if laws existed that prevented us from ignoring people’s needs, we would be better off.

Environment, Health & Society

This course draws on multiple sociological perspectives to examine two interrelated domains: 1) how dimensions of social organization shape the production and distribution of environmental health and illness in the United States; 2) how we know and regulate relationships between the environment and human health. Central to our examination is the question of how environmental health has been understood in various social worlds, at different historical moments, and by different (and often, competing) social actors. We will look at these questions across sites, including industry, clinics, neighborhoods, scientific laboratories, social movements, and government regulation and policy making. Dr. Sara Shostak Brandeis University Syllabus

WHO report highlights violence against women as a ‘global health problem of epidemic proportions’

Repost from World Health Organization (WHO) 20 June 2013 | Geneva – Physical or sexual violence is a public health problem that affects more than one third of all women globally, according to a new report released by WHO in partnership with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the South African Medical Research Council. The report, Global and regional estimates of violence against women: Prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence, represents the first systematic study of global data on the prevalence of violence against women – both by partners and non-partners. Some 35% of all women will experience either intimate partner or non-partner violence. Continue reading this article in WHO.

Problems of Identity at the Biology-Society Interface

This course will explore the entanglement of biological and social concepts in knowledge about racial and ethnic variation among human populations. The course compares the population genetics understanding of population variation and groupings to the sociological and anthropological conception of the social construction of race and ethnicity. Dr. Aaron Panofsky University of California Los Angeles Syllabus

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