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Medicalization of Poverty Symposium, 2017-2021

Medicalization of Poverty Symposium, 2017-2021

Together with the Carle Foundation, Professor Wilson, University of Virginia Professor Lois Shepherd, and other collaborators explored the connection between poverty, disease burden, and healthcare expenditures. The Medicalization of Poverty Symposium brought together experts in medicine, law, policy, and ethics. The gathering considered, “What role can law and policy play?” It is well documented that a number of diseases are strongly linked to poverty, and poverty is a strong predictor of health status. But a second aspect of poverty is less well-explored—that we have medicalized poverty. We spend inordinate amounts of money and other resources to address healthcare needs brought on by poverty instead of providing for the tangible needs of the poor before illness strikes. We treat the symptom, not the problem. The 2017 Medicalization of Poverty Symposium, published in the Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics, opened dialogue on similar issues in China. In 2021, the Medicalization of Poverty was published as a book in China with Professor Lois Shepherd and Professor Lei (David) Shi, associate professor at Southwest University of Political Science and Law.

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It is well documented that a number of diseases are strongly linked to poverty, and poverty is a strong predictor of health status. But a second aspect of poverty is less well-explored—that we have medicalized poverty.

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