Social Medicine

I am so excited for this year’s Social Medicine Consortium Third Annual Conference, Sharing Strategies for Health Equity. It is going to be held in Gallup and it is not too late to get tickets for next weeks’ events. You can find out more and register here.  Folks, Camara Jones will be there! Camara Jones! If you haven’t seen her talk on the Allegory on Race and Racism, it is simply amazing and an even more amazing resource for communicating complex issues around the effects of racism. 

What IS social medicine, you may be asking…it is the “belief that inequity kills, and that together we can achieve health equity by constructing systems that demand justice, recognizing our global interconnectedness, and supporting the next generation of health professionals.” 

To help you share in my excitement–here is a wonderful talk that Joia Mukherjee, the Medical Director at Partners In Health, gave about a year ago at a Social Medicine Symposium at the University of Minnesota. 

Her impassioned talk is a great reminder to “reimagine” the social factors behind health and wellbeing and to examine the social inequality as a risk factor for disease. 

Do you have time in the upcoming week in your team meeting to watch her talk with your team? Here are a few discussion questions that might spark an interesting conversation with your team and to push the social-justice-envelope:

How would you define social medicine to a person who is not already aware of what social medicine is and how it impacts health and health care? Joia talks about how she dislikes the term “social determinants of health”–what are your thoughts on the term and on her distaste for it? 

How does your work “reimagine social medicine”?

What else might you be able to do, as a team, to ensure that we are considering the social issues that are behind our work?

What structural violence structures are we actively fighting with our work? What structural violence should we consider more actively in our work?

I am very motivated by the social justice elements behind our global health work.  At times, of course, the day-to-day tasks of our work can make it harder to give due diligence to our work as advocates and activists and as seekers of social justice….hopefully this gives a nice reminder!


Let’s stand together…