Welcome to Social Medicine On Air, a podcast where we explore the field of social medicine with healthcare practitioners, activists, and researchers. Social medicine hopes to work for a world of justice and health - especially for the most marginalized - and connects clinical care to the deeper causes of health and illness. Through our conversational interviews, we hope to create a warm and welcoming space to learn about social medicine and meet the amazing people you'll find there.
Our team: Jonas Attilus, Sebastian Fonseca, Raghav Goyal, Brendan Johnson, Leila Sabbagh, and Poetry Thomas.
28 | Glocalization: Mobilize Locally to Act Globally | Claudio Schuftan
Claudio Schuftan, MD joins us today to discuss how human rights problems today have solutions, but priorities are determined by politics. It includes a review of Salvador Allende and Latin American social medicine history, the People's Health Movement and International People's Health University, corporate capture of the World Health Organization, how decisions actually get made at the international level of health, the role of civil society actors, the right to health and how it is implemented, the role of economists and economics in maintaining hegemony, cultural relativism and human rights, the tension between the local and the global, mass mobilizations, the class background of medical trainees, popular participation in health, his own story of exile, and how to think and act globally and locally.
Dr. Schuftan is a freelance public health consultant in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and an ex-adjunct associate professor in the Department of International Health at the Tulane School of Public Health in New Orleans, USA. He is a Chilean national and received his MD and pediatrics degree in his native country. Since 1975, he has been working on nutrition, primary health care and human rights issues in more than 50 countries the world over. From 1988-1995 he worked in Kenya. Since 1995, he lives in Vietnam and consults worldwide. He started working on human rights issues in the late 1990s and is the author of a fortnightly column, the Human Rights Reader. Most importantly, he is one of the founding members of the People’s Health Movement.
People's Health Movement website https://phmovement.org/
Claudio Schuftan's website/blog (over 600 posts) https://claudioschuftan.com/
International People's Health University (IPHU) https://phmovement.org/iphu/
27 | Why American Medical Education Is So Bad | Beyond Flexner Alliance
Isabel Chen and Jamar Slocum join us to discuss the history of American medical education and how its evolution has maintained injustice. They speak about prestige, research dollars, medical school rankings, race, admissions, wealth and power, health disparities, and the long shadow of the 1910 Flexner Report that laid the foundation of the current system. They also share how justice-informed movements like the Beyond Flexner Alliance are attempting to rattle the paradigm and recenter care, love, and justice as the ‘social mission’ of medicine.
Beyond Flexner Alliance (BFA) is a national movement, focused on health equity and training health professionals as agents of more equitable health care. This movement takes us beyond centuries-old conventions in health professions education to train providers prepared to build a system that is not only better, but fairer. The Beyond Flexner Alliance aims to promote social mission in health professions education by networking learners, teachers, community leaders, health policy makers and their organizations to advance equity in education, research, service, policy, and practice.
Beyond Flexner Conference 2022 (March 28-30, 2022), Phoenix AZ: https://flexnerconference.org/
Isabel Chen MD MPH is a family medicine resident and Chief of Social Mission & Advocacy at the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center. She is a staunch advocate for social justice through the lens of health and medicine. She performs medical evaluations for asylum seekers in Southern California and is implementing a social determinants of health curriculum and patien screening tool for Kaiser Permanente. She founded the Keep Safe Initiative, a grassroots organization that develops panic alarms for sex-trade workers in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, and co-founded The Reading Bear Society, a citywide early education that promotes inner-city health and literacy. She has servedon multiple boards including at Yale, UNESCO, UBC, APHA, CAFP, and STFM.
Jamar Slocum MD MBA MPH is a clinical assistant professor of medicine at the George Washington University (GW), where he practices hospital medicine and serves as faculty for the Atlantic Fellows for Health Equity and Beyond Flexner Alliance. During the course of his career, he has combined his skills and experience in clinical medicine and public health to build a healthcare system that is based on equity and prevention. He is a former board member of the Tennessee Health Campaign, one of the leading non-profit advocacy organizations working to ensure affordable and high quality health care for all Tennesseans. Jamar completed his residency training in internal medicine at Brown University in Providence, RI and fellowship training in general preventive medicine at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins.
Beyond Flexner Alliance website
Mullan F, Chen C, Petterson S, et al. The Social Mission of Medical Education: Ranking the Schools. Ann Intern Med.2010;152:804-811. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-152-12-201006150-00009
Mullan F. White Coat, Clenched Fist: The Political Education of an American Physician (Ann Arbor: University of Mich. Press, 2006)
Wright-Mendoza, J., 2019. The 1910 Report That Disadvantaged Minority Doctors. JSTOR Daily. bit.ly/3u2kMTI
26 | Grounding Communication in Equity | Dr. Anne Marie Liebel
SMOA Survey: bit.ly/SMOAsurvey
In what ways do our personal biases seep into our conversations with others? How does the structure of our language impact the reception of the information we are trying to share? In the era of digital medicine and health misinformation, how can we ensure we are communicating effectively with our patients? Anne Marie Liebel attacks questions like these in today’s episode of SMOA.
Dr. Liebel is the president of Health Communication Partners LLC, the host of the “10 Minutes to Better Patient Communication” podcast series, and the administrator of HealthCommunicationPartners.com. She is writing a book about health literacy from a critical social perspective.
To learn more, check out:
What Counts as Literacy in Health Literacy: Applying the Autonomous and Ideological Models of Literacy
25 | Deep Medicine | Rupa Marya & Raj Patel
SMOA Survey: bit.ly/SMOAsurvey
Raj Patel and Rupa Marya join on this episode to draw the links between physical inflammation, injustice, decolonizing medicine, and the relationship between human and non-human flourishing. They discuss environmental racism, political economy and capitalism, the way that inflammation modulates social and biological health, reductive Enlightenment science, the need for decolonized care, and what deep healing looks like. Their new book is Inflamed: Deep Medicine and the Anatomy of Injustice (2021).
Raj Patel is an author, film-maker, activist, and academic. He is a Research Professor in the Lyndon B Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, Austin. He has degrees from the University of Oxford, the London School of Economics and Cornell University, has worked for the World Bank and WTO, and protested against them around the world. He is the author of Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System and The Value of Nothing, as well as co-author of A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things. He co-directed the documentary The Ants & The Grasshopper.
Rupa Marya is a physician, activist, artist and writer who is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, the founder of the Do No Harm Coalition, and the founder and executive director of the Deep Medicine Circle, a worker-directed nonprofit committed to healing the wounds of colonialism through food, medicine, story, learning and restoration. In addition to her work in medicine and writing, Rupa is also the composer and front-woman for Rupa and the April Fishes.
Animation Video (3:18) for Inflamed: bit.ly/3B4Zp6y
Video (28:28): Health and Justice: The Path of Liberation through Medicine (Rupa Marya): bit.ly/3a0xXLe
Synopses of Inflamed: Deep Medicine and the Anatomy of Injustice (New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2021):
Prasad A, "Inflamed by Rupa Marya and Raj Patel review – Modern Medicine's Racial Divide," The Guardian (2021), bit.ly/3nQWUkp
Jones S, "The Public Body: How Capitalism Made The World Sick," The Nation (2021), bit.ly/3lLHlYu
(Disclaimer: at the request of the podcast, two free pre-print copies of the book were supplied by FSG in preparation for this episode)
Group Meditations: It Takes a Village
Link to SMOA listener survey: bit.ly/SMOAsurvey
For the very first time (!), we have the ENTIRE SMOA team here to address the question: “Are you exempt from social justice work when you’re off the clock?”
This week’s episode is dedicated to Nath Clarke and their legacy of activism. In honor of Nath’s work, all donations to this GoFundMe will go to Southern Solidarity, a black, queer-led grassroots organization that delivers food, medical resources, and basic needs directly to people experiencing homelessness in downtown New Orleans. Please consider donating if you can.
24 | Resisting Domestic, Market, and State Violence | Anna Mullany
Content warning: today's episode discusses domestic violence.
We also appreciate your patience with this episode as we know it is a few weeks behind our usual schedule! Thank you all for your support.
Short SMOA listener story: bit.ly/smoasurvey
In this episode, Anna Mullany discusses the interrelationship between domestic abuse, capitalism and political economy, patriarchy, and the teaching of social medicine. She discusses the history of the anti-domestic violence movement, the violence of the state, the rise of the carceral state, and the 'social problem apparatus.' She also shares stories from students learning about structural violence and social medicine in the classroom. In combining the micro and macro, she points a way towards emancipation for all.
Anna Mullany is a 4th year doctoral student at the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at the University of MA Amherst. The focus of her doctoral work is on rural intimate partner violence and social services. Taking a political economic perspective, she looks at how the structural determinants of health determine people's wellbeing and daily lives within capitalism. She is committed to investigating how we create a truly equitable world in which health for all is a reality. She teaches courses on "Health Communication" and "Population Health and Imperialism" to undergraduates in the Public Health Department at UMass Amherst. Additionally, she is on faculty with the Spark Teacher Education Institute in Brattleboro, VT. Prior to her doctoral studies she worked for 6 years at the Women’s Freedom Center in Brattleboro, VT – a crisis center responding to intimate partner violence. Anna also serves as a one of the hosts of Indigo Radio, a weekly radio show on the Brattleboro Community Radio Station WVEW, broadcasts of which focus on connecting local and global issues.
Harvey M. How Do We Explain the Social, Political, and Economic Determinants of Health? A Call for the Inclusion of Social Theories of Health Inequality Within U.S.-Based Public Health Pedagogy. Pedagogy in Health Promotion. 2020;6(4):246-252. bit.ly/3iNgzNX
Gimenez, M. Capitalism and the Oppression of Women: Marx Revisited. Science & Society, 2005;69(1), 11-32. bit.ly/3kTxbGA
Waitzkin, H. "The Social Origins of Illness: A Neglected History" in The Second Sickness: Contradictions of Capitalist Health Care (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000). bit.ly/3eUsJU5
Brown TM, Fee E. Rudolf Carl Virchow: medical scientist, social reformer, role model. Am J Public Health. 2006;96(12):2104-5. bit.ly/3x5cObK
Indigo Radio, bit.ly/3kU4iu3
Spark Teacher Education, bit.ly/3BBRcr7
One of the Best!
One of the best podcasts out there for helping medical students and physicians understand the limits of a medicalized framework for illness/health. Fascinating conversations with a wide array of scholars, activists, and physicians trying to reimagine health.
Viva la revolución!
Great to hear these champions of justice interview social medicine practitioners. Brilliant discussions!!
As an educator/artist who also does work as a standardized patient this podcast is a wealth of conversations and insight into how to support the learning of current medical students and also think through how I can better advocate for patients through my work.