In order to reduce social health disparities in the U.S., new policies must promote change for individuals, neighborhoods and society.
Fifty years of research is the subject of a historic supplement to the American Sociological Association’s Journal of Health and Social Behavior (JHSB). Eleven articles uncover the social dimensions of health and health care in the United States. Two themes emerge: 1) socioeconomic status and race determine health outcomes in the U.S. and 2) the current health care system is inefficient.
Katherine J. Rosich and Janet R. Hankin outline the 11 articles found in the JHSB supplement. There is a brief introduction, followed by statistics that demonstrate the “vastly changed landscape of health in 2010”; a subsequent section highlights the “unique contributions of sociological research to health and health care,” and is followed by a brief summary of each article. Rosich and Hankin touch on the policy implications of medical research in sociology.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 advanced the cause of universal health coverage. The elimination of health disparities, however, remains a distant goal. Medical sociologists will continue to seek solutions that ensure the good health of all Americans.