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The Aesthetics of Disengagement

Contemporary Art and Depression

Christine Ross

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than half of the world's population will have a depressive disorder at some point in their lifetimes. In The Aesthetics of Disengagement Christine Ross shows how contemporary art is a powerful yet largely unacknowledged player in the articulation of depression in Western culture, both adopting and challenging scientific definitions of the condition. Ross explores the ways in which contemporary art performs the detached aesthetics of depression, exposing the viewer's loss of connection and ultimately redefining the function of the image. Ross examines the works of Ugo Rondinone, Rosemarie Trockel, Ken Lum, John Pilson, Liza May Post, Vanessa Beecroft, and Douglas Gordon, articulating how their art conveys depression's subjectivity and addresses a depressed spectator whose memory and perceptual faculties are impaired. Drawing from the fields of psychoanalysis as well as psychiatry, Ross demonstrates the ways in which a body of art appropriates a symptomatic language of depression to enact disengagement - marked by withdrawl, radical protection of the self from the other, distancing signals, isolation, communication ruptures, and perceptual insufficiency. Most important, Ross reveals the ways in which art transforms disengagement into a visual strategy of disclosure, a means of reaching the viewer, and how in this way contemporary art puts forth a new understanding of depression.

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Affirmative Action in Medicine

Improving Health Care for Everyone

James L. Curtis, M.D.

Affirmative action programs have significantly changed American medicine for the better, not only in medical school admissions and access to postgraduate training but also in bringing a higher quality of health care to all people. James L. Curtis approaches this important transition from historical, statistical, and personal perspectives. He tells how over the course of his medical education and career as a psychiatrist and professor--often as the first or only African American in his cohort--the status of minorities in the medical professions grew from a tiny percentage to a far more equitable representation of the American population. Advancing arguments from his earlier book, Blacks, Medical Schools, and Society, Curtis evaluates the outcomes of affirmative action efforts over the past thirty years. He describes formidable barriers to minority access to medical-education opportunities and the resulting problems faced by minority patients in receiving medical treatment. His progress report includes a review of two thousand minority students admitted to U.S. medical schools in 1969, following them through graduation and their careers, comparing them with the careers of two thousand of their nonminority peers. These samples provide an important look at medical schools that, while heralding dramatic progress in physician education and training opportunity, indicates much room for further improvement. A basic hurdle continues to face African Americans and other minorities who are still confined to segregated neighborhoods and inferior school systems that stifle full scholastic development. Curtis urges us as a nation to develop all our human resources through an expansion of affirmative action programs, thus improving health care for everyone. James L. Curtis is Clinical Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

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Affliction

Health, Disease, Poverty

Veena Das

Affliction inaugurates a novel way of understanding the trajectories of health and disease in the context of poverty. Focusing on low-income neighborhoods in Delhi, it stitches together three different sets of issues. _x000B__x000B_First, it examines the different trajectories of illness: What are the circumstances under which illness is absorbed within the normal and when does it exceed the normal—putting resources, relationships, and even one’s world into jeopardy? _x000B__x000B_A second set of issues involves how different healers understand their own practices. The astonishing range of practitioners found in the local markets in the poor neighborhoods of Delhi shows how the magical and the technical are knotted together in the therapeutic experience of healers and patients. The book asks: What is expert knowledge? What is it that the practitioner knows and what does the patient know? How are these different forms of knowledge brought together in the clinical encounter, broadly defined? How does this event of everyday life bear the traces of larger policies at the national and global levels? _x000B__x000B_Finally, the book interrogates the models of disease prevalence and global programming that emphasize surveillance over care and deflect attention away from the specificities of local worlds. Yet the analysis offered retains an openness to different ways of conceptualizing “what is happening” and stimulates a conversation between different disciplinary orientations to health, disease, and poverty._x000B__x000B_Most studies of health and disease focus on the encounter between patient and practitioner within the space of the clinic. This book privileges, instead, the networks of relations, institutions, and knowledge over which the experience of illness is dispersed. Instead of thinking of illness as an event set apart from everyday life, it shows the texture of everyday life, the political economy of neighborhoods, as well as the dark side of care. It helps us see how illness is bound by the contexts in which it occurs, while also showing how illness transcends these contexts to say something about the nature of everyday life and the making of subjects.

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Affordable Excellence

The Singapore Healthcare Story

William A. Haseltine

This is the story of the Singapore healthcare system: how it works, how it is financed, its history, where it is going, and what lessons it may hold for national health systems around the world. Singapore ranks sixth in the world in healthcare outcomes, yet spends proportionally less on healthcare than any other high-income country. This is the first book to set out a comprehensive system-level description of healthcare in Singapore, with a view to understanding what can be learned from its unique system design and development path.

The lessons from Singapore will be of interest to those currently planning the future of healthcare in emerging economies, as well as those engaged in the urgent debates on healthcare in the wealthier countries faced with serious long-term challenges in healthcare financing. Policymakers, legislators, public health officials responsible for healthcare systems planning, finance and operations, as well as those working on healthcare issues in universities and think tanks should understand how the Singapore system works to achieve affordable excellence.

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Africa

A Practical Guide for Global Health Workers

Laurel A. Spielberg

Written by authors who speak directly from their years of personal and professional experience with health projects in Africa, this book provides an integrated historical, social, political, economic, and health introduction to a series of African countries. It also offers a comprehensive view of major health issues for those aiming to undertake humanitarian and global health work in Africa.

In the introductory chapter, the editors discuss the concepts of globalism and humanitarianism, and provide a framework for thinking about global health. They introduce readers to significant aspects of African history and agencies that play major roles in global health work in Africa. The “Tips for Travelers to Africa” chapter provides a wealth of information on preparing for travel to Africa and working successfully and effectively in African cultures.

Individual chapters on Botswana, Ghana, The Maghreb, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda focus on key health or environmental issues, projects, and solutions unique to each country. Written jointly by U.S. and African medical personnel participating in major health initiatives, the chapters offer vibrant accounts of work on leading causes of disease and death or environmental problems.

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Africa Focus Debates on Contemporary Contentious Biomedical Issues

This is a vivid, thought-provoking and fascinating text on some contentious issues in contemporary medical ethics. The book acknowledges the contribution of ìAfrican traditionî and Western scholarship to the development of medical ethics as a university discipline. It questions the lack of consensus around such biomedical issues as euthanasia and traditional medicine. In many countries, the failure has resulted in public outcries. Its thrust centres on the nexus of practice and theory, and the importance of pragmatism and critical questioning in dealing with different cases on and around biomedicine. Its virtue is its significant shift from the traditional positions on selected biomedical issues to a more rigorous, pragmatic and critical questioning and understanding of the reasoning and positions of all involved and/or affected parties.

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African American Bioethics

Culture, Race, and Identity

Lawrence J. Prograis Jr., MD, and Edmund D. Pellegrino, MD, Editors

Do people of differing ethnicities, cultures, and races view medicine and bioethics differently? And, if they do, should they? Are doctors and researchers taking environmental perspectives into account when dealing with patients? If so, is it done effectively and properly? In African American Bioethics, Lawrence J. Prograis Jr. and Edmund D. Pellegrino bring together medical practitioners, researchers, and theorists to assess one fundamental question: Is there a distinctive African American bioethics? The book's contributors resoundingly answer yesùyet their responses vary. They discuss the continuing African American experience with bioethics in the context of religion and tradition, work, health, and U.S. society at largeùfinding enough commonality to craft a deep and compelling case for locating a black bioethical framework within the broader practice, yet recognizing profound nuances within that framework. As a more recent addition to the study of bioethics, cultural considerations have been playing catch-up for nearly two decades. African American Bioethics does much to advance the field by exploring how medicine and ethics accommodate differing cultural and racial norms, suggesting profound implications for growing minority groups in the United States.

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The African Food System and Its Interactions with Human Health and Nutrition

Hunger, malnutrition, poor health, and deficient food systems are widespread in Sub-Saharan Africa. While much is known about African food systems and about African health and nutrition, our understanding of the interaction between food systems and health and nutrition is deficient. Moreover, the potential health gains from changes in the food system are frequently overlooked in policy design and implementation.

The authors of The African Food System and its Interactions with Human Health and Nutrition examine how public policy and research aimed at the food system and its interaction with human health and nutrition can improve the well-being of Africans and help achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Several of the MDGs focus on health-related challenges: hunger alleviation; maternal, infant, and child mortality; the control of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria; and the provision of safe water and improved sanitation. These challenges are intensified by problems of low agricultural and food system productivity, gender inequity, lack of basic infrastructure, and environmental degradation, all of which have direct and indirect detrimental effects on health, nutrition, and the food system.

Reflecting the complexity and multidisciplinary nature of these problems and their solutions, this book features contributions by world-renowned experts in economics, agriculture, health, nutrition, food science, and demography.

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African Medical Pluralism

Edited by William C. Olsen and Carolyn Sargent

In most places on the African continent, multiple health care options exist and patients draw on a therapeutic continuum that ranges from traditional medicine and religious healing to the latest in biomedical technology. The ethnographically based essays in this volume highlight African ways of perceiving sickness, making sense of and treating suffering, and thinking about health care to reveal the range and practice of everyday medicine in Africa through historical, political, and economic contexts.

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After Harm

Medical Error and the Ethics of Forgiveness

Nancy Berlinger

Medical error is a leading problem of health care in the United States. Each year, more patients die as a result of medical mistakes than are killed by motor vehicle accidents, breast cancer, or AIDS. While most government and regulatory efforts are directed toward reducing and preventing errors, the actions that should follow the injury or death of a patient are still hotly debated. According to Nancy Berlinger, conversations on patient safety are missing several important components: religious voices, traditions, and models. In After Harm, Berlinger draws on sources in theology, ethics, religion, and culture to create a practical and comprehensive approach to addressing the needs of patients, families, and clinicians affected by medical error. She emphasizes the importance of acknowledging fallibility, telling the truth, confronting feelings of guilt and shame, and providing just compensation. After Harm adds important human dimensions to an issue that has profound consequences for patients and health care providers.

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