Physicians Urged to Become 'Political Advocates' for Patients
Two advocates for public health want healthcare workers trained to be "structurally competent" in basic economics, urban infrastructure, and other societal factors that can negatively impact patients' health.
Jonathan Metzl, MD
UPMC/Director of Vanderbilt University's Center for Medicine, Health and Society
Physicians must become vocal and assertive political advocates for their patients and possess "structural competence" to identify and address social ills that harm public health. Teaching that structural competence should be part of pre-med and medical school curriculum, two public health advocates say.
In an essay published this month Social Science and Medicine, psychiatrists Jonathan Metzl, MD, director of Vanderbilt University's Center for Medicine, Health and Society and Helena Hansen, MD, of New York University, say it's clear that people's health and wellness can be linked to their zip codes as much as their genetic codes. As a result, they say, physicians need to understand and identify the "social factors" that can make their patients sick.
"The impetus behind this project is that the voice of medicine in standing up for better infrastructure for people has been absent," Metzl said in a telephone interview. "We are not asking anyone to advocate any particular position. We are saying that since we know that social factors can cause illnesses, medicine needs to be more vocal and using its moral voice to stand up for improving social infrastructure factors."
- Medical Errors Third Leading Cause of Death, Senators Told
- Chronic Disease Care Costs Get Bipartisan Attention
- As States Regulate Provider Competition, Common Threads Emerge
- Mayo Tops U.S. News Best Hospitals Rankings
- CareFirst Announces PCMH Program Results
- 4 Tectonic Shifts Shaking Up Healthcare
- Hospitals Seeking to Understand PPACA Impact Turn to Data
- The case for concierge medicine
- Telemedicine Providers Welcome AMA Guidelines
- ACGME Chief Sees 'Huge' Risk of Error in Proposed Assistant Physician Licensure