Fall 2023 - 61127 - PA 388K - GENDER, HEALTH AND SOCIETY


This course examines the gender dimensions of health, illness, and the medical care industry in the United States and other developed nations. It is motivated by the fact that health, disease, and medical care have important gender-specific dimensions that are affected by economics, politics, and culture. In the past the medical care system often ignored gender, as well as race-baced differences in health care needs. These gaps in knowledge concerning risks and appropriate treatmentst have very specific consequences that we will investigate. The collection of readings will allow us to examine the social institutions that shape men's and women's health and health care. Specific topics include reproductive health, single motherhood and the stress of raising children alone, welfare and health care, divorce and changes in health, certain illnesses that women experience including breast and ovarian cancer, drug and alcohol abuse, and the forces that influence research into women's health problems. In addition, we examine the role of woman as major actors in changing the health care system, reducing health risks for themselves and their families, and their roles as health care providers, public administrators, and leaders in the health care establishment. We will also touch upon the role of local, state and federal agencies in health policy formulation and implementation, the politics of the medicalization of women's issues including childbirth, refugee and immigrant women's heath, and more. The course will also examine the role of different levels and branches of government, including the presidency, Congress, the courts, and the bureaucracy, in the formation of public policy. Alternative political ideologies regarding state and private responsibility for women's health will be compared and contrasted. Similarly, we will assess the relative power of key non-governmental actors, such as interest groups, health care NGOs, researcheres, and the media in the definition and framing of our health agenda. The course deals with rapidly evolving issues and readings will be assigned as current events warrant.

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