Racism And Public Health

1834 Words8 Pages

The field of health is constantly evolving. From the discovery of antibiotics to the development of the CT scan, physicians and scientists have always found ways to improve and extend the quality of life. While this is still true of physicians and scientists today, in the past, they have been perpetrators of negative health outcomes for marginalized groups. For years, physicians and scientists used their professions as means to justify the racist and prejudiced ideals that existed in the societies they were in. This was apparent with the colonization of African countries, as well as the discrimination of blacks in the U.S. Although, the actions of physicians and scientists towards marginalized groups were racist, their ideas about health, …show more content…

The authors remind us that medical professionals are aware of the topics that lead to health disparities such as discrimination, racism, and residential segregation and in fact, medical professionals have contributed to these ideals throughout the history of the profession (Garcia and Sharif e27). Therefore, it is the responsibility of the professionals in the field to do what they can to confront racism, since, they also helped to promote such health disparities in the past (Garcia and Sharif e29). The authors also urge medical professionals to participate in different activities such as community outreach and research that will advocate for policies to improve the health of people in disadvantaged communities (Garcia and Sharif e29). The arguments presented by these authors express the impact that medical professionals could have on polices geared towards social change if they would play an active role in promoting public health. In contrast, they criticize medical professionals for their role in the past for promoting social change that was a detriment to disadvantaged groups, therefore, indicating that since medical professionals, in the past, influenced negative social changes, they …show more content…

However, it is because the medical professionals played such a large role in the negative social perception of marginalized groups that they have a duty to change it for the better. Other critics, such as authors John H. Knowles and Thomas Szasz, believe it should be the individual’s responsibility to take care of their personal health, not the responsibility of medical professionals. Szasz states that doctors are only tasked with the responsibility to diagnose a patient and to treat the patient, only if consent is given (Szasz 84). Knowles argues that individuals are responsible for their own healthcare and too much blame is deflected to society. However, Knowles acknowledges that medical professionals play a role with regards to helping people take responsibility for their healthcare. He suggests that preventative healthcare is the key to solving many of today’s health issues. Nonetheless, to promote preventative care, the role that doctors play must be emphasized. He states, “Carrying out such a strategy involves many variables-convincing the doctor to play his pivotal role…” (Knowles 66). Here he is demonstrating the important role that doctors play in healthcare. He is focused on the idea that a physician’s job is not just to treat a patient but to aid in developing preventative

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