BTHX 8610, "Medical Consumerism", will be instructed by Carl Elliot MD PhD, spring 2010 on Wednesdays from 10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. in the Boynton 5th floor conference room. The purpose of this seminar is to explore the roots and implications of medical consumerism.
BTHX 8610-"Medical Consumerism"
Instructor: Carl Elliott MD PhD
Wednesdays, 10 am -12:30 pm, Boynton 5th floor conference room
The past several decades have seen the emergence of two related movements in American health care. The first is a growing emphasis on medical enhancement. A growing number of medical technologies are being deployed not merely to treat patients who are sick or disabled, but to improve the looks, performance and psychological well-being of people who are healthy. A second, related movement is the submission of the American health care system to the machinery of consumer capitalism. This is not just a matter of the rise of managed care corporations, Contract Research Organizations and direct-to-consumer drug advertising. It is also a change in the ethos of medicine. American doctors and patients are arguably coming to see medical care as a market commodity provided to consumers who are able and willing to pay for it.
The purpose of this seminar is to explore the roots and implications of medical consumerism. How is the consumerist model of medicine shaping our concepts of disease and disability? What larger historical developments have led to our current situation? How are the tools of medical enhancement shaping the way we think about our identities and the way we live our lives? This seminar will draw on an interdisciplinary set of texts from philosophy, history, literature, law, and the social sciences as a way of exploring these larger questions.