Healing Politics: A Doctor's Journey into the Heart of Our Political Epidemic

Healing Politics: A Doctor's Journey into the Heart of Our Political Epidemic

Healing Politics: A Doctor's Journey into the Heart of Our Political Epidemic

Healing Politics: A Doctor's Journey into the Heart of Our Political Epidemic



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A memoir about restoring the health of our people, and our democracy, from a physician and “one of the brightest young stars” of the progressive movement (Sen. Bernie Sanders).

A child of immigrants, Abdul El-Sayed grew up feeling a responsibility to help others. He threw himself into the study of medicine and excelled—winning a Rhodes Scholarship, earning two advanced degrees, and landing a tenure-track position at Columbia University. At thirty, he became the youngest city health official in America, tasked with rebuilding Detroit’s health department after years of austerity policies. 

But El-Sayed found himself disillusioned. He could heal the sick—even build healthier, safer communities—but that wouldn’t address the social and economic conditions causing illness in the first place. So he left health for politics, running for Governor of Michigan and earning the support of progressive champions like Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Bernie Sanders.

This memoir traces the life of a young idealist, weaving together powerful personal stories and fascinating forays into history and science. Marrying his unique perspective with the science of epidemiology, El-Sayed diagnoses an underlying epidemic afflicting our country, an epidemic of insecurity. And to heal the rifts this epidemic has created, he lays out a new direction for the progressive movement. This is a bold, personal, and compellingly original book from a prominent young leader.

“In Healing Politics, Abdul El-Sayed doesn’t just diagnose the causes of our broken politics; he gives us a prescription and treatment plan.” —Representative Pramila Jayapal

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781683358138
Publisher: ABRAMS, Inc. (Ignition)
Publication date: 03/31/2020
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: eBook
Pages: 352
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed is a physician, epidemiologist, public health expert, and progressive activist. He was appointed health director of Detroit at 30 years old. He’s a former professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. He holds a doctorate in public health from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and a medical degree from Columbia University.

Table of Contents

Foreword Ady Barkan xi

Prologue 1

Part I Practicum

Chapter 1 Home Away from Home 11

Chapter 2 An Imperfect Science 18

Chapter 3 Matched-Pair 25

Chapter 4 Privilege 39

Chapter 5 Complex Causes 48

Chapter 6 Ideals and Institutions 56

Chapter 7 Not That Kind of Doctor 69

Chapter 8 Contagion and Miasma 78

Chapter 9 Home Again 83

Chapter 10 Doctoring Detroit 97

Chapter 11 Running for Our Lives 112

Part II America's Insecurity Epidemic

Chapter 12 The Syndrome 129

Chapter 13 Insecure Health 141

Chapter 14 Insecure Households 150

Chapter 15 Insecure Communities 166

Chapter 16 Insecure Places 175

Chapter 17 Insecure Economy 188

Chapter 18 Insecure Politics 196

Chapter 19 The Spread of Insecurity 216

Part III Healing Politics

Chapter 20 Toward a Politics of Empathy 229

Chapter 21 Them and Us 234

Chapter 22 Empathy Policy 248

Chapter 23 Thirteen Ideas to Heal Our Insecurity 256

Epilogue: Empathy for Our Future 290

Notes 293

Acknowledgments 327

Index 331

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