Public Health 101: Edition 3

Jones & Bartlett Learning
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From clean drinking water, to seat belts, to immunizations, the impact of public health on every individual is undeniable. For undergraduates, an understanding of the foundations of public health is an essential step toward becoming an educated citizen. Public Health 101 provides a big-picture, population perspective on the determinants of health and disease and the tools available to protect and promote health. It examines the full range of options for intervention including use of the healthcare system, the public health system, and society-wide systems such as laws and taxation.
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About the author

Clinical Associate Professor, School of Public Health, University at Albany, State University of New York, Albany, New York

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Additional Information

Publisher
Jones & Bartlett Learning
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Published on
Mar 8, 2018
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Pages
338
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ISBN
9781284165890
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Language
English
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Genres
Medical / Public Health
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Mama Might Be Better Off Dead is an unsettling, profound look at the human face of health care. Both disturbing and illuminating, it immerses readers in the lives of four generations of a poor, African-American family beset with the devastating illnesses that are all too common in America's inner-cities.

The story takes place in North Lawndale, a neighborhood that lies in the shadows of Chicago's Loop. Although surrounded by some of the city's finest medical facilities, North Lawndale is one of the sickest, most medically underserved communities in the country. Headed by Jackie Banes, who oversees the care of a diabetic grandmother, a husband on kidney dialysis, an ailing father, and three children, the Banes family contends with countless medical crises. From visits to emergency rooms and dialysis units, to trials with home care, to struggles for Medicaid eligibility, Abraham chronicles their access (or lack of access) to medical care.

Told sympathetically but without sentimentality, their story reveals an inadequate health care system that is further undermined by the direct and indirect effects of poverty. When people are poor, they become sick easily. When people are sick, their families quickly become poorer.

Embedded in the family narrative is a lucid analysis of the gaps, inconsistencies, and inequalities the poor face when they seek health care. This book reveals what health care policies crafted in Washington, D. C. or state capitals look like when they hit the street. It shows how Medicaid and Medicare work and don't work, the Catch-22s of hospital financing in the inner city, the racial politics of organ transplants, the failure of childhood immunization programs, the vexed issues of individual responsibility and institutional paternalism. One observer puts it this way: "Show me the poor woman who finds a way to get everything she's entitled to in the system, and I'll show you a woman who could run General Motors."

Abraham deftly weaves these themes together to make a persuasive case for health care reform while unflinchingly presenting the complexities that will make true reform as difficult as it is necessary. Mama Might Be Better Off Dead is a book with the power to change the way health care is understood in America. For those seeking to learn what our current system of health care promises and what it delivers, it offers a place for the debate to begin.


In Baltimore's inner-city neighborhood of Upton/Druid Heights, a man's life expectancy is sixty-three; not far away, in the Greater Roland Park/Poplar neighborhood, life expectancy is eighty-three. The same twenty-year avoidable disparity exists in the Calton and Lenzie neighborhoods of Glasgow, and in other cities around the world.

In Sierra Leone, one in 21 fifteen-year-old women will die in her fertile years of a maternal-related cause; in Italy, the figure is one in 17,100; but in the United States, which spends more on healthcare than any other country in the world, it is one in 1,800 (and now, with the new administration chipping away at Obamacare, the statistics stand to grow even more devastating). Why?

Dramatic differences in health are not a simple matter of rich and poor; poverty alone doesn't drive ill health, but inequality does. Indeed, suicide, heart disease, lung disease, obesity, and diabetes, for example, are all linked to social disadvantage. In every country, people at relative social disadvantage suffer health disadvantage and shorter lives. Within countries, the higher the social status of individuals, the better their health. These health inequalities defy the usual explanations. Conventional approaches to improving health have emphasized access to technical solutions and changes in the behavior of individuals, but these methods only go so far. What really makes a difference is creating the conditions for people to have control over their lives, to have the power to live as they want. Empowerment is the key to reducing health inequality and thereby improving the health of everyone. Marmot emphasizes that the rate of illness of a society as a whole determines how well it functions; the greater the health inequity, the greater the dysfunction.

Marmot underscores that we have the tools and resources materially to improve levels of health for individuals and societies around the world, and that to not do so would be a form of injustice. Citing powerful examples and startling statistics (“young men in the U.S. have less chance of surviving to sixty than young men in forty-nine other countries”), The Health Gap presents compelling evidence for a radical change in the way we think about health and indeed society, and inspires us to address the societal imbalances in power, money, and resources that work against health equity.
From clean drinking water, to seat belts, to immunizations, the impact of public health on every individual is undeniable. For undergraduates, an understanding of the foundations of public health is an essential step toward becoming an educated citizen.

Public Health 101: Healthy People--Healthy Populations provides a big-picture, population perspective on the determinants of health and disease and the tools available to protect and promote health. It examines the full range of options for intervention including use of the healthcare system, the public health system, and society-wide systems such as laws and taxation.

Through case studies, vignettes, and extensive examples, readers will come away with a clear understanding of how public health affects them in their everyday lives. They will learn and apply frameworks for thinking about the issues of public health and gain a deeper understanding about the health news they are exposed to each day.

Key Features:

Public Health 101 fully implements the curriculum framework, learning objectives, and "enduring understandings" of undergraduate public health education as recommended by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U)* and the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research (APTR).
Frameworks for thinking, checklists, and step-by-step examples provide students with hands-on practice.
Case studies, vignettes, and extensive illustrations reinforce the materials and provide interactive exercises for classroom discussions, homework, and examinations.
A full package of instructor resources is available online at http://publichealth.jbpub.com/essential/riegelman.
* To learn more about the AAC&U initiative, The Educated Citizen and Public Health, or to download the curriculum guide, log on to: www.aacu.org/public_health.

Looking for more real-life evidence? Check out Essential Case Studies in Public Health, Putting Public Health into Practice.
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