Sociology | Social Problems & Policies
S101 | 4090 | Mossakowski

Topic:  Medicine in America: Physicians, Patients and Their Problems

This course is an introduction to medical sociology.  Health,
illness, and medical care are important social issues.  While the
profession of medicine has at its disposal the most powerful
technology ever known and the most generous financial support ever
provided by the public sector, why has it failed to cure society’s
ills?  We will closely examine how social factors influence
individual health and the quality of medical care.

We will explore topics about physicians, patients, and their problems
from a sociological perspective.  What is health?  Who is most likely
to become ill?  Why are there racial health disparities?  Does stress
harm physical and mental health?  Is the individual or the health
care system responsible for health?  Is being sick actually a social
role?  Should deviant behavior be medicalized and labeled mental
illness?  In addition, the purpose of medical service in the United
States will be discussed and how physician-patien interaction can be
improved.  There is a debate about the contributions and limitations
of medical science in the United States.  Can we, the public, change
the focus, direction, and costs of medical care?  Overall, medical
sociology is relevant for many disciplines such as medicine, public
health, epidemiology, psychology, physical education, law, politics,
and business.