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Health and Medical Care in America
One of America's leading public health experts finds a host of ills in this country's health care system: • The United States spends nearly twice as much on health care as the rest of the developed world, yet has higher infant mortality rates and shorter longevity than most nations. • We have access to many different drugs that accomplish the same end at varying costs, and nearly all are cheaper abroad. • Our life span had doubled over the past century before we developed effective drugs to treat most diseases or even considered altering the human genome. • The benefits of almost all newly developed treatments are marginal, while their costs are high. In his blunt assessment of the state of public health in America, Alfred Sommer argues that human behavior has a stronger effect on wellness than almost any other factor. Despite exciting advances in genomic research and cutting-edge medicine, Sommer explains, most illness can be avoided or managed with simple, low-tech habits such as proper hand washing, regular exercise, a balanced diet, and not smoking. But, as he also shows, this is easier said than done. Sommer finds that our fascination with medical advances sometimes keeps us from taking responsibility for our individual well-being. Instead of focusing on prevention, we wait for medical science to cure us once we become sick. Humorous, sometimes acerbic, and always well informed, Sommer’s thought-provoking book will change the way you look at health care in America.
Contesting Community and Defining Difference in U.S. Public Health Programs
As local governments and organizations assume more responsibility for ensuring the public health, identity politics play an increasing yet largely unexamined role in public and policy attitudes toward local problems. In Governing How We Care, medical anthropologist Susan Shaw examines the relationship between government and citizens using case studies of needle exchange and Welfare-to-Work programs to illustrate the meanings of cultural difference, ethnicity, and inequality in health care.
Drawing on ethnographic research conducted over six years in a small New England city, Shaw presents critical perspectives on public health intervention efforts. She looks at online developments in health care and makes important correlations between poverty and health care in the urban United States. Shaw also highlights the new concepts of community and forms of identity that emerge in our efforts to provide effective health care. Governing How We Care shows how government-sponsored community health and health care programs operate in an age of neoliberalism.
Late in the summer of 1880, a wave of odors emanated from the sewers of Paris. As the stench lingered, outraged residents feared that the foul air would breed an epidemic. Fifteen years later—when the City of Light was in the grips of another Great Stink—the landscape of health and disease had changed dramatically. Parisians held their noses and protested, but this time few feared that the odors would spread disease. Historian David S. Barnes examines the birth of a new microbe-centered science of public health during the 1880s and 1890s, when the germ theory of disease burst into public consciousness. Tracing a series of developments in French science, medicine, politics, and culture, Barnes reveals how the science and practice of public health changed during the heyday of the Bacteriological Revolution. Despite its many innovations, however, the new science of germs did not entirely sweep away the older "sanitarian" view of public health. The longstanding conviction that disease could be traced to filthy people, places, and substances remained strong, even as it was translated into the language of bacteriology. Ultimately, the attitudes of physicians and the French public were shaped by political struggles between republicans and the clergy, by aggressive efforts to educate and "civilize" the peasantry, and by long-term shifts in the public's ability to tolerate the odor of bodily substances. This fascinating study sheds new light on the scientific and social factors that continue to influence the public's lingering uncertainty over how disease can—and cannot—be spread.
The Health Care Safety Net in a Post-Reform World examines how national health care reform will impact safety net programs that serve low-income and uninsured patients. The “safety net” refers to the collection of hospitals, clinics, and doctors who treat disadvantaged people, including those without insurance, regardless of their ability to pay. Despite comprehensive national health care reform, over twenty million people will remain uninsured. And many of those who obtain insurance from reform will continue to face shortages of providers in their communities willing or able to serve them. As the demand for care grows with expanded insurance, so will the pressure on an overstretched safety net.
This book, with contributions from leading health care scholars, is the first comprehensive assessment of the safety net in over a decade. Rather than view health insurance and the health care safety net as alternatives to each other, it examines their potential to be complementary aspects of a broader effort to achieve equity and quality in health care access. It also considers whether the safety net can be improved and strengthened to a level that can provide truly universal access, both through expanded insurance and the creation of a well-integrated and reasonably supported network of direct health care access for the uninsured.
Seeing safety net institutions as key components of post-health care reform in the United States—as opposed to stop-gap measures or as part of the problem—is a bold idea. And as presented in this volume, it is an idea whose time has come.
A Social and Structural Approach
It is estimated that more than 50 million Latinos live in the United States. This is projected to more than double by 2050. In Health Issues in Latino Males experts from public health, medicine, and sociology examine the issues affecting Latino men's health and recommend policies to overcome inequities and better serve this population. It includes an extensive appendix charting epidemiological data on Latino health.
Perspectives on the Long Twentieth Century
Health patterns in Southeast Asia have changed profoundly over the past century. In that period, epidemic and chronic diseases, environmental transformations, and international health institutions have created new connections within the region and the increased interdependence of Southeast Asia with China and India. In this volume leading scholars provide a new approach to the history of health in Southeast Asia. Framed by a series of synoptic pieces on the "Landscapes of Health" in Southeast Asia in 1914, 1950, and 2014 the essays interweave local, national, and regional perspectives. They range from studies of long-term processes such as changing epidemics, mortality and aging, and environmental history to detailed accounts of particular episodes: the global cholera epidemic and the hajj, the influenza epidemic of 1918, WWII, and natural disasters. The writers also examine state policy on healthcare and the influence of organizations, from NGOs such as the China Medical Board and the Rockefeller Foundation to grassroots organizations in Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
Chronic Disease and Slow Death in Nineteenth-Century France
Incurable and Intolerable looks at the history of incurable illness from a variety of perspectives, including doctors, patients, families, religious counsel, and policy makers. This compellingly documented history illuminates the physical, emotional, social, and existential consequences of chronic disease and terminal illness, and offers an original look at the world of palliative medicine, politics, religion, and charity. Jason Szabo encourages a more careful scrutiny of today's attitudes, policies, and practices surrounding "imminent death" and its effects on society.
Politics, Disease, and the Health Effects of Segregation
For most of the first half of the twentieth century, tuberculosis ranked among the top three causes of mortality among urban African Americans. Often afflicting an entire family or large segments of a neighborhood, the plague of TB was as mysterious as it was fatal. Samuel Kelton Roberts Jr. examines how individuals and institutions--black and white, public and private--responded to the challenges of tuberculosis in a segregated society.
A Short History of Autoimmunity
Autoimmune diseases, which affect 5 to 10 percent of the population, are as unpredictable in their course as they are paradoxical in their cause. They produce persistent suffering as they follow a drawn-out, often lifelong, pattern of remission and recurrence. Multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and type 1 diabetes—the diseases considered in this book—are but a handful of the conditions that can develop when the immune system goes awry. Intolerant Bodies is a unique collaboration between Ian Mackay, one of the prominent founders of clinical immunology, and Warwick Anderson, a leading historian of twentieth-century biomedical science. The authors narrate the changing scientific understanding of the cause of autoimmunity and explore the significance of having a disease in which one’s body turns on itself. The book unfolds as a biography of a relatively new concept of pathogenesis, one that was accepted only in the 1950s. In their description of the onset, symptoms, and course of autoimmune diseases, Anderson and Mackay quote from the writings of Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe, Joseph Heller, Flannery O’Connor, and other famous people who commented on or grappled with autoimmune disease. The authors also assess the work of the dedicated researchers and physicians who have struggled to understand the mysteries of autoimmunity. Connecting laboratory research, clinical medicine, social theory, and lived experience, Intolerant Bodies reveals how doctors and patients have come to terms, often reluctantly, with this novel and puzzling mechanism of disease causation.
Vol. 1 (1990) through current issue
Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved (JHCPU) is a peer-reviewed journal focusing on contemporary health care issues of medically underserved communities. JHCPU addresses such diverse areas as health care access, quality, costs, legislation, regulations, health promotion, and disease prevention from a North American, Central American, Caribbean, and sub-Saharan African perspective. Regular features include research papers and reports, literature reviews, policy analyses, and evaluations of noteworthy health care programs, as well as a regular column written by members of the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved is the official journal of the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved (ACU).