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public health



  • Medical Racism has Shaped U.S. Policies for Centuries

    by Deirdre Cooper Owens

    Medical racism over centuries has "created a system of belief and practice that allowed doctors to place blame on Black people for not having the same health outcomes as White people."



  • What’s at Stake in the Fight Over Reopening Schools

    by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

    In cities like Chicago, parents anxious to return children to school have blamed teachers' unions. The historian and New Yorker columnist argues that some proponents of reopening are using racial equity arguments in bad faith while ignoring the gross racial inequalities that characterized schooling-as-usual before the pandemic and the work of teachers' unions to fight it.



  • National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Reminds Us of the Deep Costs of Inequality

    by Dan Royles

    "This history shows us that biomedical interventions such as antiretrovirals to treat HIV or the vaccine against the coronavirus yield some progress in the fight against epidemic disease, but do little to alter the underlying inequities that make some communities more vulnerable to illness in the first place."



  • Five Past Vaccine Drives and How They Worked

    "Scientists developed vaccines less than a year after Covid-19 was identified, a reflection of remarkable progress in vaccine technology. But progress in vaccine distribution is another story."



  • The Year We Lost

    Historians consider whether the disruptions and cancellations of 2020 are a singular conjuncture of bad news or if the year has just highlighted normal patterns of life – deferral of dreams, economic privation, and uncertainty – that the less-privileged have always lived with. 


  • The Plague in Ancient Athens: A Cautionary Tale for America

    by Fred Zilian

    The United States in some respects has fared better under COVID than Athens did during the plague that accompanied the Peloponnesian War: a vaccine is in sight, and our head of state survived the day's most feared disease. But in both cases, disease showed the strains and cracks of a society and political system that will be difficult to repair.



  • Vaccinated? Show Us Your App

    Medical historian Michael Willrich says that the prospect of smartphone-based credentialing to demonstrate an individual has been vaccinated is potentially invasive of privacy and the control of health data by private interests. 



  • How Black People Learned Not to Trust Public Health

    Times Columnist Charles M. Blow looks to scholars including historian Jim Downs to examine mistrust among Black Americans of a potential COVID vaccine; medical authorities have abused the trust and violated the consent of Black patients too often in the past for those fears to be dismissed out of hand.