How Clinicians Can Address the Fundamental Causes of Disease

Check out this new article in the Journal of Bioethical Inquiry by my friend Adam Reich, on the “fundamental causes” of disease.

In order to enhance the structural competency of medicine—the capability of clinicians to address social and institutional determinants of their patients’ health—physicians need a theoretical lens to see how social conditions influence health and how they might address them. The authors consider one such theoretical lens, fundamental cause theory, and propose how it might contribute to a more structurally competent medical profession.

My main reaction is that most physicians haven’t studied the history of social medicine and public health, for example, Rudolph Virchow. If they had, the importance of an upstream approach would be evident. This is beginning to change, gradually. For example at Harvard Medical School, first year students now take a required course, Introduction to Social Medicine and Global Health.

If you can’t download this article because it is behind a paywall, drop me an email.

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Thanks so much for visiting my website! Writing and reading blog posts does take time and we all know that time is in short supply. You and I will both get much more out of this blog if it leads to dialogue. If you found my post useful and wouldn’t mind leaving a brief comment or sharing on social media, I would be grateful. Or if you’re shy about Tweeting but are willing to email me a comment that I can post anonymously or send an anonymous Surveymonkey, that would be great. My posts are generally written quickly, so if you find any factual or grammatical errors, please do let me know. Best regards, Philip Lederer

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