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Disease Change and the Role of Medicine: The Navajo Experience$
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Stephen Kunitz

Print publication date: 1983

Print ISBN-13: 9780520049260

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520049260.001.0001

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Changing Mortality and the Role of Medicine

Changing Mortality and the Role of Medicine

Chapter:
(p.179) 6 Changing Mortality and the Role of Medicine
Source:
Disease Change and the Role of Medicine: The Navajo Experience
Author(s):

Stephen J. Kunitz

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520049260.003.0007

This chapter argues that as the health care system increasingly confronts problems such as alcohol abuse and automobile accidents, the socialization function of medicine assumes greater importance and the medical role increasingly becomes one of defining a variety of social conditions as health problems. Social organization is linked to the hospitalization of the elderly. The role of medicine as legitimate labeler of problems has increased in stature based upon therapeutic successes in the past. There can be no doubt that social institutions profoundly affect the causes and levels of mortality and morbidity. There is also no doubt that in the twentieth century specific medical measures have been significant in decreasing some significant causes of morbidity and mortality, even in the face of little or no social change.

Keywords:   medicine, social organization, health care system, hospitalization, mortality, morbidity, alcohol abuse, automobile accidents

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