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Physicians Urged to Become ‘Political Advocates’ for Patients
Health Leaders Media

Physicians must become vocal and assertive political advocates for their patients and possess “structural competence” to identify and address social ills that harm public health. Teaching that structural competence should be part of pre-med and medical school curriculum, two public health advocates say.

In an essay published this month Social Science and Medicine, psychiatrists Jonathan Metzl, MD, director of Vanderbilt University’s Center for Medicine, Health and Society and Helena Hansen, MD, of New York University, say it’s clear that people’s health and wellness can be linked to their zip codes as much as their genetic codes.  As a result, they say, physicians need to understand and identify the “social factors” that can make their patients sick.