BIOL 6540: Medicine, Knowledge, and Social Justice: Theory and Practice
Medicine has a long history of social activism with a particularly vibrant tradition called “social medicine.” Social medicine has been defined in many different ways for various agendas since the mid-19th century. Historically an outgrowth of broad-based social activism with activist healthcare providers developing deep roots in and collaborations with communities working for fundamental social change, the term social medicine has more recently been reduced to a narrow apolitical conception of social determinants, amenable to study through a biomedical model of disease. The #BlackLivesMatter social movement has triggered an upsurge in political activism for change among medical students and other students in the allied health professions nationally. This course situates contemporary activism in the longer history of social medicine traditions to examine inequalities in health and disease through the lens of racialized, classed, and gendered societal structures -- political, economic, and social. The overarching goal of this class is to reflect on the most effective approaches to ending health inequality.