Saturday, November 27, 2010

Invisibility of Poverty in Diabetes Research

Chaufan and Weitz write an important article pointing out that poverty as a cause of disease is ignored in academic research. They also point out that there is at least a 200 year tradition showing this to be the case. Poverty is ignored because it would make academics and others have to deal with how we benefit from the power dynamics that create poverty.

Dealing with these dynamics would require academics and public health workers have to face their role in the maintenance of poverty and disenfranchisement. Or, in an attempt to appear more academic researches focus on individual cause and effects which can be easily manipulated in a manageable experiment. Either way this leads to what the authors state as "business as usual."

They also point out that working for changes is one possible option. They suggest that living wages, affordable housing, and health care as a right will have greater impact than attempting to change individual behaviors. They also suggest that researchers look at the role of poverty as a cause of disease and propose structural changes to society that make the population healthier.

Some of these health improving changes are electoral, others are economic. Either way, it is important to begin to look at poverty as a structure which makes people sick. Then we can look at politics as one of many methods to make people healthier!

Register! Vote! Organize Raza Unida!

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