Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: public health

  • COVID-19 and the Black Death

    Colleen Donnelly  Denver, Colorado, United States   A street during the plague in London with a death cart and mourners. Colour wood engraving by E. Evans. Wellcome Library no. 6918i. Source During the fourteenth century waves of the bubonic plague washed across Europe. Doomsday books of the age described an apocalypse that wiped out one-quarter…

  • Have we learned anything from 1918–1919 influenza?

    Edward Winslow Wilmette, Illinois, United States Actual daily deaths from influenza, September to November 1918. Monthly Bulletin of the Department of Health, December 1918. NYC Municipal Library. Source.  The 2020 viral pandemic (COVID-19),1 in spite of being caused by a novel virus family, bears striking epidemiological and social resemblance to the influenza pandemic of 1918.2 Both…

  • A surgeon and a gentleman: the life of James Barry

    Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, United States   Dr. James Barry with John, a servant, and his dog, Psyche. Unknown Artist. c1850.   “Do not consider whether what I say is a young man speaking, but whether my discussion with you is that of a man of understanding.”1 – Dedication of the thesis of James Barry In November of 1809,…

  • America’s Arab refugees: Vulnerability and health on the margins

    Richard ZhangNew Haven, Connecticut, United States Arab refugees, like others throughout history, have grappled with issues of somatic and mental health, cultural belonging, and fertility. Timely and eye-opening, Marcia Inhorn’s America’s Arab Refugees is the first anthropological book to focus on the aforementioned refugees and their barriers to health. This work is exemplary in its…

  • Health, wellness, and their determinants

    Travis Kirkwood Ottawa, Ontario, Canada   Original map made by John Snow in 1854. Cholera cases are highlighted in black. 2nd Ed by John Snow. Public Domain due to age. John Snow is often referred to as the father of modern epidemiology. His work is certainly worthy of this1 and present-day public health2 still strives toward…

  • What did Dorothy Reed See?

    Sara NassarCairo, Egypt “They say that genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains.”1– Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet Dorothy Mabel Reed Mendenhall opened the doors of medicine at a time when women were considered incapable of managing this “gory” field. Although Reed’s eponymous Reed-Sternberg cell was a pivotal discovery for the…

  • Dr. Rebecca Cole and racial health disparities in nineteenth-century Philadelphia

    Meg Vigil-Fowler Grand Junction, Colorado   The anatomy lecture room at the Woman’s Medical College of New York Infirmary. Published in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper.  April 16, 1870. Library of Congress. From the beginning of black women’s professional involvement in medicine, public health marked a central component of the scope of their practice. Rebecca Cole,…

  • Welcome to The Jungle: the story of adopting two food safety laws

    Stephen Kosnar Accra, Ghana   In the heart of the Great Union Stock Yards, Chicago, U.S.A. Kelley & Chadwick. C.1909. Accessed from the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs catalog. In 1912 my great-grandfather Matthew Kosnar collected his family in rural Bohemia and began a journey that would take them by train, ship, and train…

  • Preparing for a zombie apocalypse

    Larry KerrCarlisle, Pennsylvania, United States What can we learn from a Zombie Apocalypse? The first thing to learn? It could happen. Anyone who has been on this earth for a length of time knows that when a person says something cannot possibly happen, it almost certainly will. Even more worrisome is the disclaimer that if…

  • Drug war or race war? Effects of illegal drug distribution in the African-American community

    Denise PowellSan Francisco, California, United States I also don’t believe in drugs. For years I paid my people extra so they wouldn’t do that kind of business. Somebody comes to them and says, “I have powders. If you up three, four-thousand-dollar investment, we can make fifty thousand distributing.” So they can’t resist. I want to…