History of Health Care in the United States

Fall

From colonial times, access to health care has been less a history of access and inclusion and more one of exclusion and organizing to guarantee its access to the increasingly diverse population of a growing country. In this conference-based course, we will explore the varied understandings of health and medical care from colonial times to the late 20th century. Topics to be considered will include the role that ethnicity, race, gender, and religious identity played in access to and provision of health services; the migration of health care from home and community (midwifery, homeopathy) to institutions (nursing, hospitals) and the social conditions that fueled that migration; the struggle for ascendancy among the different fields of medical education; and the creation of the field of public health, its role in defining and controlling outbreaks of disease, and its impact on addressing inequities in access to health care services. Course participants will prepare a major research paper, investigating an aspect of the history of health care that is of special interest. The conference paper will be developed through regular meetings with the instructor and in conjunction with other course participants.