“DISEASE MONGERING” & “HEALTHISM”
When Public Health Policy is Bad for the Public Health
Disease Mongering involves the widening of boundaries of treatable diseases in order to increase markets for those who sell and deliver treatments. It involves “medicalizing” ordinary aspects of life, portraying mild problems as serious illnesses and framing risk factors as diseases in themselves. Pharmaceutical corporations, public relations companies, health professionals and patient advocates aggressively spread the word about these new health problems and the treatments that have been created to combat them. Government proclamations about looming, potentially catastrophic “epidemics” create an atmosphere of fear and confusion. The focus on the individual transforms health into a metaphor for all that is good in life creating an obsessive fervor or “healthism” for all things “healthy.” This presentation will examine the precarious state of Public Health today and make recommendations for improving its impact on the publics’ health.
Jonathan Robison, Ph.D., MS Adjunct Assistant Professor, Michigan State University, Adjunct Associate Professor, Western Michigan University Phone: (517) 507-0287 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org website: www.jonrobison.net