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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Marie A Dewitt, MD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This is a unique, multidisciplinary textbook that reexamines the impact of the often overlooked contributions of psychosociocultural factors in the individual experiences in, and behavior toward, healthcare. It also focuses on the maladaptive behaviors of physicians, patients, industries, and current health policy that have contributed to the current state of healthcare in the United States.
Purpose: The purpose is to educate current generations of healthcare professionals about the significance of cultural, social, economic, and political beliefs and constraints in which patient behaviors occur.
Audience: Although the original targeted audience was medical students preparing to take the United States Medical Licensing Examination, it appears that the book is also used by students of various healthcare professions including those in public health, nursing, and social work.
Features: This edition reemphasizes the commitment to the education of the original target audience with a focus on, and organization around, the six core domains of education recently recommended by the Institute of Medicine. The book is realistically organized for the medical student with italics and bold highlighting important concepts or terms. Suggested readings are listed at the end of each chapter, although it is unclear whether these also serve as the references for the chapter. An appendix of study questions for the USMLE behavioral sciences component are provided as an appendix. Pertinent photographs, poems, and clinical vignettes complement the text.
Assessment: This is an amazing resource that fulfills an important role in the comprehensive education of healthcare professionals. It is a reminder of the humanistic approach to medicine in the modern era with a focus on the societal and cultural contributions to an individual's experience with, and behavior within, the healthcare system. Finally, it also serves as a strong reminder of the sickness of our current healthcare delivery model and the need to change this fundamental component prior to anticipating significant changes in the behavior of patients.