Medical sociology is the sociological analysis of medical organizations and institutions; the production of knowledge and selection of methods, the actions and interactions of healthcare professionals, and the social or cultural (rather than clinical or bodily) effects of medical practice. The field commonly interacts with the sociology of knowledge, science and technology studies, and social epistemology. Medical sociologists are also interested in the qualitative experiences of patients, often working at the boundaries of public health, social work, demography and gerontology to explore phenomena at the intersection of the social and clinical sciences. Health disparities commonly relate to typical categories such as class and race. Objective sociological research findings quickly become a normative and political issue.
Early work in medical sociology was conducted by Lawrence J Henderson whose theoretical interests in the work of Vilfredo Pareto inspired Talcott Parsons interests in sociological systems theory. Parsons is one of the founding fathers of medical sociology, and applied social role theory to interactional relations between sick people and others. Key contributors to medical sociology since the 1950s include Howard S. Becker, Mike Bury, Peter Conrad, Jack Douglas, David Silverman, Phil Strong, Bernice Pescosolido, Carl May, Anne Rogers, Anselm Strauss, Renee Fox, and Joseph W. Schneider.
The field of medical sociology is usually taught as part of a wider sociology, clinical psychology or health studies degree course, or on dedicated Master's degree courses where it is sometimes combined with the study of medical ethics/bioethics. In Britain, sociology was introduced into the medical curriculum following the Goodenough report in 1944: "In medicine, ‘social explanations’ of the aetiology of disease meant for some doctors a redirection of medical thought from the purely clinical and psychological criteria of illness. The introduction of ‘social’ factors into medical explanation was most strongly evidenced in branches of medicine closely related to the community — Social Medicine and, later, General Practice" (Reid 1976).
Role of Medical Sociologist in Hospital
Medical Sociology is a specialization within the field of sociology.Its main interest is in the study of health,health behavior and medical institutions. Illness is viewed not only as a medical problems but also psychological and social problem. The problems presented by patients are not always purely medical but also psycho-social. Diseases such as tuberculosis,leprosy,sexually transmitted diseases have a big social component in their aetiology. Medical sociologist study of social behavioral and cultural factors of illness.A social approach to disease treatment is also emphasized. A successful Medical Sociologist must possess a knowledge of the community and the factors which affects the health of the community.
Medical Sociologist will look at the patient illness in a social dimensions. They try to find out root causes of the illness on social ground, rectify the reasons and they will help the physician to understand the actual reasons for the diseases and illness that occurred to the patients. Mostly,Medical sociologist will be functioning as a "Doctor Patient Relationship Officers" in hospital sectors. DPRO role is to associate with the patients and physician to bridge the gap and to provide the holistic health to the patients. Medical sociologist are all like a counselors who council the patient and to understand the social problem. They will try to guide them and make them to realize the actual root cause of the problem.
- Medical anthropology
- Epidemiological transition
- Health disparities
- Social medicine
- Sociology of health and illness
- Stroke Belt
Reid, Margaret (1976), "The Development of Medical Sociology in Britain", Discussion Papers in Social Research No 13, University of Glasgow
Conrad, Peter (2007). The Medicalization of Society: On the Transformation of Human Conditions into Treatable Disorders. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8584-6. OCLC 72774268.
Helman, Cecil (2007). Culture, Health, and Illness (5th ed.). London, England: Hodder Arnold. ISBN 978-0-340-91450-2. OCLC 74966843. Law, Jacky (2006). Big Pharma: Exposing the Global Healthcare Agenda. New York, NY: Carroll and Graf. ISBN 978-0-7867-1783-5. OCLC 64590433. Levy, Judith A.; Pescosolido, Bernice A. (2002). Social Networks and Health (1st ed.). Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Boston, MA: JAI. ISBN 978-0-7623-0881-1. OCLC 50494394.