Social Determinants of Health

Ripple effects of global warming and climate change on American public health disparities

Climate change is one of humanity’s most pressing obstacles this century. With longer summers and shortening coastlines, environmental changes are well-documented by scientists. However, environmental alterations are bound to have a myriad of ripple effects on our society, which—while often less understood—may be equally as devastating. In this article, we’ll investigate how some of these ripples affect public health in…

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Social Determinants of Health

Mass Incarceration and COVID-19: The intersection of American policy failures

Today, American prison systems stand at the intersection of multiple public health disasters. Mass incarceration has led to millions of people living in dismal, overcrowded arrangements — conditions that left prisoners particularly susceptible to infectious spread. At the onset of the pandemic, policymakers had a chance to create effective safety regulations but failed to do so. The convergence of these…

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Social Determinants of Health

A Mini-Ethnography: Social determinants of public health on the Texas-Mexico border

In early January, I traveled from the suburbs of Austin to the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) as a student researcher to test an app that would expand the outreach of healthcare. Despite being in the same state, the RGV’s distinctive culture seemed a world away. I journaled my observations and interactions in the town, and when I returned home, I…

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Social Determinants of Health

How self-produced medicines have increased tribal agency and reduced health disparities in Thailand

Modern healthcare is fraught with inequality. The U.S. private system suffers from exorbitant treatment costs, turns a blind eye to chronic conditions, and reflects disparities by ethnicity and socioeconomic status—all of which remain significant barriers to public health. On a global stage, similar patterns are evident: pharmaceutical companies are hesitant to expand into developing countries where they may not profit.…

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Social Determinants of Health

The public health crisis on the Thailand-Myanmar border: Struggles of the Karen tribal peoples

“Anada1 was abandoned in the toilet pan at birth. Neighbors discovered her some hours later, and we took her to the hospital. The high level of infection caused cataracts and cornea scarring, leaving her blind.” Having grown up in the confines of American suburbia, I was shocked when I heard this story.  I was in conversation with Catherine Ruth-Riley discussing…

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Social Determinants of Health

Having conversations about health: Public health disparities on the Pine Ridge Native reservation

Indigenous communities have suffered for centuries at the hands of colonialism, and their isolation on reservations has affected their health and well-being in a myriad of ways. In this post, I’ll discuss the public health situation at one reservation in particular: Pine Ridge. I recently had the privilege of speaking with Paula Sibal, a staff member at Re-Member who is…

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Social Determinants of Health

Culture’s effect on well-being: Examining connections between industrialism, mental health, and culture-bound syndromes

Although public health has an objective and scientific connotation, systems of thought and belief also affect well-being, with equal, if not greater, impact. For instance, global differences in the occurrence of mental health conditions reveal that social conditions are in part responsible for citizens’ mental health. Furthermore, in a world of globalization, cultural diffusion has affected societal standards in even…

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Social Determinants of Health

Why I’m passionate about medical anthropology and public health: Sharing my story of vision care (pt. 1)

In 3rd grade, my math class was playing Around the World—a game where whoever solves a multiplication problem the fastest can go “around” the classroom—to help us memorize our times tables. Every time it was my turn, I stood up, but I was never able to answer.  What numbers is everyone looking at? Why can’t I see them? I thought.…

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Social Determinants of Health

The silent killers of society: How health illiteracy and cultural stigmas affect thousands of rural communities worldwide

In the U.S., we teach our kids from an early age to make healthy choices in life—I recall how many of my elementary school days were spent learning about “go/slow/whoa” foods, the “fuel up to play 60” campaign, and the healthy-eating pyramid. As much as I may have disliked their dull repetitiveness at the time, these catchy slogans had made…

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Social Determinants of Health

How the most primal of human necessities affect public health today: A global understanding of malnutrition and food insecurity

Food, water, and shelter—the three necessities of our ancestors, dating from tens of millennia ago, are still ever-important to our survival. In modern-day society, food has become an essential aspect of the cultural landscape of cities; as a result, what food one has access to is dependent on their geographical location, income, and status. Unfortunately, nutrition in marginalized communities is…

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