Mental Illness Awareness Week Reading List

Today’s reading list is focused on mental health as we enter Mental Illness Awareness Week, recognized from October 3rd to October 9th. “Since 1990, when Congress officially established the first full week of October as MIAW, advocates have worked together to sponsor activities, large or small, to educate the public about mental illness.” Below you’ll… Continue Reading Mental Illness Awareness Week Reading List

Reproductive Rights, Abortion, and the State of Texas

The following recommended reading list provides deep analysis and historical insight regarding the Texas abortion law ruling (and the ongoing challenges to Roe v. Wade) that has gone into effect as of September 1, 2021. Take 40% off when purchasing these titles direct from uncpress.org using discount promo code 01DAH40 at checkout. Abortion after RoeBy… Continue Reading Reproductive Rights, Abortion, and the State of Texas

The Right to Live in Health: A Blessed Formula for Progress

Recently, we published a recommended reading list in support of Cuba’s most recent demand for liberation. Today we chose to publish an excerpt from one of the titles from that reading list, Daniel A. Rodríguez’s The Right to Live in Health: Medical Politics in Postindependence Havana. Out of the many reasons people in Cuba have… Continue Reading The Right to Live in Health: A Blessed Formula for Progress

Cuba’s Fight for Freedom: A Recommended Reading List

Due to the protests happening in Cuba currently, we’ve decided to publish a recommended reading list pertaining to Cuba’s fight for freedom. This isn’t the first time revolts have taken place in Cuba, but what’s going on now has been referred to as the biggest protests Cuba has seen in decades. When I began researching… Continue Reading Cuba’s Fight for Freedom: A Recommended Reading List

The Nation of Islam, Caring for the Black Body, and Vaccine Hesitancy

Guest post (unrolled from a thread that appeared originally on Twitter) by Edward E. Curtis IV, author of Black Muslim Religion in the Nation of Islam, 1960-1975 The history of the Nation of Islam helps to explain why some U.S. African Americans do not want a foreign substance injected in their arms. As COVID Black and… Continue Reading The Nation of Islam, Caring for the Black Body, and Vaccine Hesitancy

Wendy Gonaver: Jailing People with Mental Illness, Part 2

Today we welcome a second guest post from Wendy Gonaver, author of The Peculiar Institution and the Making of Modern Psychiatry, 1840–1880, just published this month by UNC Press.  You can read the first installment here. Though the origins of asylums can be traced to Europe, the systematic segregation of the mentally ill into specialized… Continue Reading Wendy Gonaver: Jailing People with Mental Illness, Part 2

Wendy Gonaver: Jailing People with Mental Illness, Part 1

Today we welcome the first of two guest posts from Wendy Gonaver, author of The Peculiar Institution and the Making of Modern Psychiatry, 1840–1880, just published this month by UNC Press. Though the origins of asylums can be traced to Europe, the systematic segregation of the mentally ill into specialized institutions occurred in the Unites… Continue Reading Wendy Gonaver: Jailing People with Mental Illness, Part 1

Nortin M. Hadler, M.D., and Stephen P. Carter, J.D.: Redesigning the American Health Care System

Today we welcome a guest post from Nortin M. Hadler, M.D., and Stephen P. Carter, J.D., authors of a new open-access pamphlet published by UNC Press, Promoting Worker Health:  A New Approach to Employee Benefits in the Twenty-First Century. In this extended essay, the authors introduce a new approach to reforming the American health-care system–a… Continue Reading Nortin M. Hadler, M.D., and Stephen P. Carter, J.D.: Redesigning the American Health Care System

Muriel R. Gillick, M.D.: The Not-So-Secret Secret About American Health Care

Today, we welcome a guest post from Dr. Muriel R. Gillick, author of Old and Sick in America:  The Journey through the Health Care System. Since the introduction of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965, the American health care system has steadily grown in size and complexity. Old and Sick in America takes readers on a… Continue Reading Muriel R. Gillick, M.D.: The Not-So-Secret Secret About American Health Care

Muriel R. Gillick, M.D.: Happy Birthday, Medicare

Today, we welcome a guest post from Dr. Muriel R. Gillick, author of Old and Sick in America:  The Journey through the Health Care System, on the founding of the national health insurance program we call Medicare. Since the introduction of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965, the American health care system has steadily grown in… Continue Reading Muriel R. Gillick, M.D.: Happy Birthday, Medicare

Nancy Tomes: Remarks from the Bancroft Awards Dinner

Thinking about those issues was like entering a funhouse with distorted mirrors: people used the same words—patient, consumer, choice, value—and meant very different things by them. In search of the origins of this strange concept of the “patient as consumer,” I kept going back further and further, looking for where it came from. The roots turned out to be a lot earlier than I expected: the 1920s and 1930s, not the 1970s. Continue Reading Nancy Tomes: Remarks from the Bancroft Awards Dinner

Nora E. Jaffary: Midwifery in Mexico

Midwives were the dominant obstetrical and gynecological practitioners in Mexico in pre-Hispanic and colonial Mexico. Their medical knowledge was vast. Early post-conquest writers observed that Mexican midwives possessed hundreds of medical remedies to provide contraception, encourage fertility, counteract the side effects of pregnancy, assist in complicated deliveries, and treat postpartum complaints. They could soothe labor pains, initiate stalled labor, facilitate the placenta’s expulsion, encourage lactation, and soothe that most vexatious of post-partum symptoms: hemorrhoids. Continue Reading Nora E. Jaffary: Midwifery in Mexico

Interview: Dr. Peggy Valentine on the Journal of Best Practices in Health Professions Diversity

Q: How do you see the journal advancing research and teaching at Winston-Salem State University (WSSU)?

A: An important goal of any institution of higher learning is to advance the body of knowledge through research and scholarship. Given its important mission as a Historically Black College and University, WSSU was founded on principles of social justice, and promotes equity intentionally and comprehensively. A journal that addresses the need for a more diverse health professions workforce, therefore is consistent with the university’s mission. This journal has provided an opportunity for faculty to serve as peer reviewers and on publish their research that undergo the peer review process like any other submitted manuscripts. The journal has also provided an opportunity for graduate students to gain experience in working with authors from around the nation, to market the journal to potential subscribers, and to solicit articles for publication. Continue Reading Interview: Dr. Peggy Valentine on the Journal of Best Practices in Health Professions Diversity

Nora E. Jaffary: Ancient Abortifacients in Modern Mexico

One of the things that surprised me the most was that throughout the colonial period and up until as late as the 1860s, neither community members nor judicial authorities in Mexico seemed particularly troubled that women were procuring abortions. Continue Reading Nora E. Jaffary: Ancient Abortifacients in Modern Mexico

Excerpt: The Trials of Laura Fair: Sex, Murder, and Insanity in the Victorian West, by Carole Haber

In arguing that the jury had to find Laura “not guilty by reason of insanity,” Quint and Cook hoped to focus their attention around four central issues. At the heart of their case, they argued, was the notion that Laura was unconscious and irrational at the time of the murder. In contrast to the prosecution, which had relied on gossip and rumor to condemn Laura’s character, they would base their case on the latest scientific findings and medical expertise. By calling to the stand doctors with advanced knowledge and training, they would prove that Laura—much like Mary Harris before her—was a victim herself, captive to the effects of severe organic disease. Especially when her menstrual cycle approached, she experienced recurring bouts of hysterical mania that left her without control of her actions or awareness of events. Thus, no matter how heinous the act appeared, she was not responsible for its commission. Continue Reading Excerpt: The Trials of Laura Fair: Sex, Murder, and Insanity in the Victorian West, by Carole Haber

Holly M. Karibo: Cutting the Cancer of Drug Use Out of the Nation? Reflections on the History of Mandatory Minimum Sentences in the United States

This year marks the sixtieth anniversary of the passage of the Narcotic Control Act of 1956, a law that dramatically reshaped American drug policies. While the precedent for mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses had been established four years earlier, the Narcotic Control Act greatly expanded the scope of these sentences. Among its many clauses, the act raised the minimum sentence on some drug offenses to five years and allowed the imposition of the death penalty on anyone over the age of eighteen convicted of trafficking heroin to minors. This made the Narcotics Control Act the strictest drug law in the nation’s history—one that treated addiction as a plague that needed to be addressed through punitive measures. Continue Reading Holly M. Karibo: Cutting the Cancer of Drug Use Out of the Nation? Reflections on the History of Mandatory Minimum Sentences in the United States

April Merleaux: The Mexican Soda Tax Debate

Last year Mexico became the first nation in the world to impose a surtax on sweetened soft drinks. Policymakers justified the move by pointing out that people in Mexico consume more soda per capita than anywhere else in the world, a trend they argue fosters the nation’s high rates of obesity and diet-related disease. While governments around the world have also used economic incentives–or, in this case, disincentives–as a means of bolstering public health, Mexico’s soda tax does so on a much grander scale. A year later, in July 2015, public health researchers reported that consumption of soft drinks in Mexico fell by more than five percent. Many people hope for similar measures in the United States. California and New York are considering similar policies. New York City tried something similar a few years ago, before a judge overturned it, and the Navajo Nation just passed a junk food tax.

But the great Mexican soda tax debate can be viewed in a wider context than public health policy. It is, after all, also about the politics of capitalism and global trade. Continue Reading April Merleaux: The Mexican Soda Tax Debate

Bob H. Reinhardt: The Fascinating Puzzlement over Smallpox Eradication

Whenever I mention that I have written a book about the eradication of smallpox, people usually look at me with equal parts fascination—“wow, that’s a great story to tell!”—and puzzlement—“Wait a second…smallpox? Eradicated? Really?” I love seeing this reaction. After more than six years of working on the topic, I sometimes forget that that’s exactly where I started. My initial reaction of familiarity with smallpox quickly gave way to confusion about the disease’s past and present. Continue Reading Bob H. Reinhardt: The Fascinating Puzzlement over Smallpox Eradication

Excerpt: Modern Food, Moral Food, by Helen Zoe Veit

A variety of factors contributed to the explosion of weight loss culture during and after the Great War, and one especially potent factor was the creep of metrics into daily life. The application of calories to food in the late nineteenth century and the emerging discipline of statistics resulted in well-publicized comparisons of food consumption and body weights between individuals and across populations. At the same time, life insurance statistics were revealing new correlations between excess weight and chronic disease. More and more Americans, meanwhile, were purchasing newly affordable home scales and buying their clothing ready-made, and thus increasingly thinking of their bodies in terms of numbers and sizes instead of, say, just making clothes to fit their individual bodies. Moreover, metrics grew more prevalent in daily life just as the motion picture industry was taking off and as a visually oriented print media continued to expand. Handed the tools to make physical comparisons, Americans eagerly made them. The growing ease of numerical and visual comparisons contributed directly to the valorization of thinness. But what accounts for the moral stigma that leeched onto the idea of being overweight? The answer lies at the heart of the Progressive ideology of self-control, a value that transcended the Progressive Era itself, both supporting and thriving within the enduring associations between thinness, willpower, and beauty. Continue Reading Excerpt: Modern Food, Moral Food, by Helen Zoe Veit