Inflamed: Deep Medicine and the Anatomy of Injustice

Farrar. Aug. 2021. 496p. ISBN 9780374602512. $30. SOC SCI/HEALTH
Most social justice movements have recognized that the health of oppressed people is worse than the health of those in power. This well-written, compelling book expands on that idea with the concept of “deep medicine,” which looks at health disparities brought on by colonialism, politics, and capitalism. Marya (medicine, Univ. of California, San Francisco; founder of Do No Harm Coalition) and Patel (Sch. of Public Affairs, Univ. of Texas, Austin; Stuffed and Starved) write that human health is impacted by one’s environment and exposome (a measure of everything an individual is exposed to in a lifetime), so poor living conditions, poverty, environmental destruction, and oppression all have health effects. They examine the exposome’s impacts on different organ systems (immune, circulatory, digestive, respiratory, reproductive, endocrine, nervous) and connective tissue, and conclude by calling for a new medical culture of care that looks at the total environment and community, not just the individual. Particularly moving chapters highlight health care inequality in the United States that particularly affects Black Americans and Indigenous peoples; examples include racial disparities in COVID-19 infection and recovery rates.
VERDICT An excellent book for anyone concerned with health, community, or the environment. The accessible writing will draw readers in.
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