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Health disparities exist between races in America. These inequalities are cataloged in numerous studies, reports, conferences, articles, seminars, and keynote speeches. Various studies include reports on income, health insurance, cultural differences between patients and their physicians, language barriers, and biological “racial” differences in the discourse of health disparities. On Race and Medicine: Insider Perspectives is a collection of enlightening personal essays written by an interdisciplinary group of scholars, physicians, and medical school deans. They invite readers to evaluate disparities differently when considering race in American healthcare. They address the very real, everyday circumstances of healthcare differences where race is concerned, and shine light on the realities of race itself, inequalities in healthcare, and on the very way these American complexities can be discussed and considered. This is not another chronicle of studies cataloging differences in health care based on race. The essays are narrated from practical and personal stances examining disparate health between the races. Decreasing inequalities in health for racial minorities, who are sicker in so many areas—diabetes, heart disease, stage of cancer, etc.—is financially good for everyone. But understanding health inequalities in race is of even greater human importance. How race intersects with medicine is striking given the existence of racial issues throughout the rest of American history. These authors attempt to explain and explore the truth about health disparities, which is necessary before we can turn our national attention toward eliminating differences in health based on race.
Health is a gendered concept in Western cultures. Customarily it is associated with strength in men and beauty in women. This gendered concept was transmitted through visual representations of the ideal female and male bodies, and ubiquitous media images resulted in the absorption of universal standards of beauty and health and generalized desires to achieve them. Today, genuine or self-styled experts—from physicians to newspaper columnists to advertisers—offer advice on achieving optimal health. Topics in this collection are wide ranging and include childbirth advice in Victorian Australia and Cold War America, menstruation films, Canadian abortion tourism, the Pap smear, the Body Worlds exhibition, and fat liberation. Masculinity is explored among drunkards in antebellum Philadelphia and family memoirs during the 1980s AIDS epidemic. Seemingly objective public health advisories are shown to be as influenced by commercial interests, class, gender, and other social differentiations as marketing approaches are, and the message presented is mediated to varying degrees by those receiving it. This book will be of interest to scholars in women’s studies, health studies, marketing, media studies, social history and anthropology, and popular culture.
"Race may be socially constructed, but alleles are not. The question is not "if" biology matters, but "how" does it--and will it--matter? How will biology be called upon to define or confine us in the twenty-first century? Kenneth Prewitt forcefully urges caution in the recuperation of biology, especially when biology is called upon to justify genomic medicine's uncontested adoption of a census taxonomy that is itself based on eighteenth-century pseudoscience. He also effectively deconstructs the pretense by census takers that this taxonomy itself is firmly anchored in science. In one of the most original aspects of this important new book, Prewitt shows in fine historical detail that 'social science and social policy share a common starting point'--ultimately, in American slavery and Jim Crow racial relations. Prewitt's analysis, even when I disagree with him, is timely, thoughtful, eloquent, and learned, and we would all do well to heed his warnings."--Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Harvard University "This is the best book ever written about the federal census of the United States."--David A. Hollinger, University of California, Berkeley "This is an important and passionately written book. Prewitt traces the historical origins of what he calls the 'statistical races, ' arguing that race and ethnicity questions on federal censuses and surveys should ultimately be dropped. His policy recommendations are provocative and well explicated and deserve wide consideration. As a former census director, his proposal carries weight."--Margo Anderson, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee "Few people are better placed than Prewitt to comment on the role of racial classification in U.S. policy. As both a scholar and public servant, he brings a unique insider perspective to the 'sausage making' of race-based data. Although lots of scholars and bureaucrats grumble about our existing race categories, no one else has put together a call for change that is as detailed, extensive, and historically researched."--Ann Morning, author of "The Nature of Race: How Scientists Think and Teach about Human Difference"
"Culture counts" has long been a rallying cry among health advocates and policymakers concerned with racial disparities in health care. A generation ago, the women’s health movement led to a host of changes that also benefited racial minorities, including more culturally aware medical staff, enhanced health education, and the mandated inclusion of women and minorities in federally funded research. Many health professionals would now agree that cultural competence is important in clinical settings, but in what ways? Shattering Culture provides an insightful view of medicine and psychiatry as they are practiced in today’s culturally diverse clinical settings. The book offers a compelling account of the many ways culture shapes how doctors conduct their practices and how patients feel about the care they receive. Based on interviews with clinicians, health care staff, and patients, Shattering Culture shows the human face of health care in America. Building on over a decade of research led by Mary-Jo Good, the book delves into the cultural backgrounds of patients and their health care providers, as well as the institutional cultures of clinical settings, to illuminate how these many cultures interact and shape the quality of patient care. Sarah Willen explores the controversial practice of matching doctors and patients based on a shared race, ethnicity, or language and finds a spectrum of arguments challenging its usefulness, including patients who may fear being judged negatively by providers from the same culture. Seth Hannah introduces the concept of cultural environments of hyperdiversity describing complex cultural identities. Antonio Bullon and Mary-Jo Good demonstrate how regulations meant to standardize the caregiving process—such as the use of templates and check boxes instead of narrative notes—have steadily limited clinician flexibility, autonomy, and the time they can dedicate to caring for patients. Elizabeth Carpenter-Song looks at positive doctor-patient relationships in mental health care settings and finds that the most successful of these are based on mutual “recognition”—patients who can express their concerns and clinicians who validate them. In the book’s final essay, Hannah, Good, and Park show how navigating the maze of insurance regulations, financial arrangements, and paperwork compromises the effectiveness of mental health professionals seeking to provide quality care to minority and poor patients. Rapidly increasing diversity on one hand and bureaucratic regulations on the other are two realities that have made providing culturally sensitive care even more challenging for doctors. Few opportunities exist to go inside the world of medical and mental health clinics and see how these realities are influencing patient care. Shattering Culture provides a rare look at the day-to-day experiences of psychiatrists and other clinicians and offers multiple perspectives on what culture means to doctors, staff, and patients and how it shapes the practice of medicine and psychiatry.
Mary Barr thinks a lot about the old photograph hanging on her refrigerator door. In it, she and a dozen or so of her friends from the Chicago suburb of Evanston sit on a porch. It's 1974, the summer after they graduated from Nichols Middle School, and what strikes her immediately—aside from the Soul Train–era clothes—is the diversity of the group: boys and girls, black and white, in the variety of poses you'd expect from a bunch of friends on the verge of high school. But the photo also speaks to the history of Evanston, to integration, and to the ways that those in the picture experienced and remembered growing up in a place that many at that time considered to be a racial utopia. In Friends Disappear Barr goes back to her old neighborhood and pieces together a history of Evanston with a particular emphasis on its neighborhoods, its schools, and its work life. She finds that there is a detrimental myth of integration surrounding Evanston despite bountiful evidence of actual segregation, both in the archives and from the life stories of her subjects. Curiously, the city’s own desegregation plan is partly to blame. The initiative called for the redistribution of students from an all-black elementary school to institutions situated in white neighborhoods. That, however, required busing, and between the tensions it generated and obvious markers of class difference, the racial divide, far from being closed, was widened. Friends Disappear highlights how racial divides limited the life chances of blacks while providing opportunities for whites, and offers an insider’s perspective on the social practices that doled out benefits and penalties based on race—despite attempts to integrate.
"Digital media technologies like the Internet create and host the social networks, virtual worlds, online communities, and media texts where it was once thought that we would all be the same, anonymous users with infinite powers. Instead, the essays in Race After the Internet show us that the Internet and other computer-based technologies are complex topographies of power and privilege, made up of walled gardens, new (plat)forms of economic and technological exclusion, and both new and old styles of race as code, interaction, and image. Investigating how racialization and racism are changing in web 2.0 digital media culture, Race After the Internet contains interdisciplinary essays on the shifting terrain of racial identity and its connections to digital media, including Facebook and MySpace, YouTube and viral video, WiFi infrastructure, the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program, genetic ancestry testing, DNA databases in health and law enforcement, and popular online games like World of Warcraft. Ultimately, the collection broadens the definition of the "digital divide" in order to convey a more nuanced understanding of usage, meaning, participation, and production of digital media technology in light of racial inequality. "--
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