Gretchen Berland is one of my heroes, so I was thrilled when she asked me to give a guest lecture at Yale. Then I read the syllabus for “Media & Medicine in Modern America.” It’s too cool to keep to myself…
The organizing themes for the course include:
(1) Who created and disseminated health information, and how was that information communicated to the public? How and why have particular audiences been targeted by gender, age, race, ethnicity, region, and class?
(2) How did a symbiotic, sometimes adversarial relationship emerge between two of the most successful industries of the twentieth-century—medicine and the media? What have been the changing patterns of collaboration and conflict? And what have been the consequences of this partnership for the public’s health?
(3) How have organizations with competing agendas used the media to promote their economic, political, and social interests?
(4) How has the mass media shaped cultural representations of physicians, biomedical researchers, health, and disease, as well as health-related public debates and political controversies? How have media portrayals shaped public expectation of medicine and perceptions of the medical profession? And how has the media influenced perceptions of health and illness by the medical community?
Readings for this week:
*Pauline W. Chen, “Medicine in the Age of Twitter,” New York Times (June 11, 2009).
Carleen Hawn, “Take Two Aspirin and Tweet Me in the Morning: How Twitter. Facebook, And Other Social Media Are Reshaping Health Care,” Health Affairs 28 (2009): 361-368.
*Susannah Fox and Sydney Jones, “The Social Life of Health Information: Americans’ Pursuit of Health Takes Place within a Widening Network of both Online and Offline Sources,” Pew Internet & American Life Project (June 2009), pp.1-72.
*Sachin H. Jain, “Practicing Medicine in the Age of Facebook,” New England Journal of Medicine 361 (2009): 649-651.
Leslie Beard, Kumanan Wilson, Dante Morra, and Jennifer Keelan, “A Survey of Health-Related Activities on Second Life,” Journal of Medical Internet Research 11 (2009): e17.
Websites of Interest (review of these sites not required, but each may serve as a research reference)
Suggestions welcome in the comments for what else these undergrads should read – and what I should tell them!
Gilles Frydman says
An obvious missing link is Gary Schwitzer’s Healthnews Review blog: http://www.healthnewsreview.org/blog/
I would also tak of the long running media representation of the Internet and the cyberchondriacs usually with negative overtones. And of the lack of serious conversations about how the millions of networked patients are slowly but certainly transforming the practice of medicine.
Finally I’ll notice, since this is the e-patients blog, that talking about the interaction of the 2 industries, by definition, gives the patients a secondary role. Once again, an example of the missing stakeholder syndrome.
Wow. That sounds like an awesome, cutting-edge class!
Kevin Clauson says
One example/possible reading recommendation that I use in class for highlighting issues with medicine and media is: “Is Cybermedicine Killing You” – The Story of a Cochrane Disaster” (http://www.jmir.org/2005/2/e21/). It demonstrates the importance of evaluating medical information (vs. accepting everything you are told), and how research results can be sensationalized and distorted by irresponsible/uninformed members of the media. Most of the headlines that came out of it specifically discouraged people from looking online for health-related information. However, it has a happy ending where a sort of expert crowdsourcing detected the errors and helped remedy the situation…
I coincidentally just gave that lecture earlier this week, and wrote a quick summary piece in a post (http://bit.ly/a3QVBG). Hope this helps and I look forward to hearing about your experience there.
Carolina Jimenez says
Dear Kevin, I agree with your suggestion (Is Cybermedicine Killing You” – The Story of a Cochrane Disaster), good document as well!
Susannah Fox says
I uploaded my crib notes from Thursday’s lecture:
I riffed a bit about some of the issues raised in the comments above, but didn’t get those into the written document. Thanks again for the suggestions!
Carolina Jimenez says
I would also suggest
Desphande Amol, Jadad Alejandro R. Web 2.0: Could it help move the health system into the 21st Century?. Jmhg Vol. 3, No. 4, pp. 332–336, December 2006
Kassirer Jerome P. Patients, Physicians, and the Internet. Health Affairs November/December 2000.