Letters Archive

Fall 2004, Vol. 12, No. 2 (requires Adobe Acrobat)
  • Strategic Actions: Women, Power, and Gender Norms: An Interview with Holly McCammon and Cecelia Tichi
  • 2004/2005 Warren Center Fellows Strategic Actions: Women, Power, and Gender Norms
  • Don Quixote: An Anniversary Celebration
  • 2004/2005 Warren Center Seminars
  • Joe Klein to Present Harry C. Howard Jr. Lecture
  • Artist Ana Flores to Install Exhibit at Monroe Carell Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt
  • We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution” Eastern Regional Summer Institute for Teachers
  • Rethinking Inequalities and Differences in Medicine
  • 2004 Summer Graduate Student Fellows

  • Rethinking Inequalities and Differences in Medicine

    Members of the 2002/2003 Fellows Program on “Medicine, Health, and Society” are planning a conference to be held April 29 through May 1, 2005, entitled “Rethinking Inequalities and Differences in Medicine.” The 2002/2003 Fellows Program was co-directed by Matthew Ramsey (history) and Larry Churchill (medical ethics). Member of the group include: Craig Anne Heflinger (human and organizational development), Leonard Hummel (Divinity School), Scott Pearson (surgical oncology), Ruth Rogaski (history), Peggy Thoits (sociology), and Arleen Tuchman (history). Steve Rachman (English and American studies, Michigan State University) was the William S. Vaughn Visiting Fellow.

    Over the last decade, two interconnected issues have occupied a rapidly growing place in social studies of medicine: disparities in health and care, and cultural differences that affect health-related behaviors and patients’ interactions with the health care system. The first is the focus of a new Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health, created in 2000. The second has become an established part of the curriculum in schools of medicine and nursing, on the principle that in an increasingly diverse society, patients will receive better care from “culturally competent” providers. These topics have proved remarkably fruitful as subjects for research and teaching. Yet the underlying concepts and assumptions have rarely received the crucial reexaminations they deserve.

    This conference is intended to bring together scholars from multiple disciplines to share and discuss new approaches to the study of inequalities and differences in medicine. Among the central questions to be addressed are how we define and measure inequalities and whether the differences that shape patient behaviors in various population groups are best understood in cultural, socioeconomic, or other terms.

    Keynote speakers will be Vinh-Kim Nguyen (medical anthropology, McGill University) and David Williams (sociology, epidemiology, and African American Studies, University of Michigan). Professor Nguyen’s current research concerns the factors that shape access to anti-retroviral drugs in developing countries, the transnational circulation of these drugs between North and South, and their impact on both local social relations and biologies. Professor Williams’ main research interests are in the areas of socioeconomic status, the experience of discrimination or racism, and resulting health effects.

    In conjunction with the conference, the Warren Center will sponsor an exhibit of paintings commissioned by an American medical missionary, Peter Parker, between 1836 and 1852. The portraits depict Chinese patients afflicted with mature tumors that were later removed by Dr. Parker. The exhibit will be held in Special Collections at the Heard Library and will also include materials from the Vanderbilt Medical Center related to the history of medicine and society.

    More detailed information regarding the conference will be announced later in the semester.

    Letters Archive Index

    For more information, contact the Center's executive director, Mona C. Frederick.

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