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Other titles in the Critical Issues in Health and Medicine series:
In the Public Interest (Critical Issues in Health and Medicine)by Ruth Horowitz
Synopses & Reviews
How do we know when physicians practice medicine safely? Can we trust doctors to discipline their own? What is a proper role of experts in a democracy? In the Public Interest raises these provocative questions, using medical licensing and discipline to advocate for a needed overhaul of how we decide public good in a society dominated by private interest groups. Throughout the twentieth century, American physicians built a powerful profession, but their drive toward professional autonomy has made outside observers increasingly concerned about physicians’ ability to separate their own interests from those of the general public.
Ruth Horowitz traces the history of medical licensure and the mechanisms that democratic societies have developed to certify doctors to deliver critical services. Combining her skills as a public member of medical licensing boards and as an ethnographer, Horowitz illuminates the workings of the crucial public institutions charged with maintaining public safety. She demonstrates the complex agendas different actors bring to board deliberations, the variations in the board authority across the country, the unevenly distributed institutional resources available to board members, and the difficulties non-physician members face as they struggle to balance interests of the parties involved.
In the Public Interest suggests new procedures, resource allocation, and educational initiatives to increase physician oversight. Horowitz makes the case for regulations modeled after deliberative democracy that promise to open debates to the general public and allow public members to take a more active part in the decision-making process that affects vital community interests.
In the Public Interest investigates the mechanisms that democratic societies have used to certify that those working as licensed doctors are properly trained and supervised as they deliver critical services to the public. It analyzes the workings of the crucial public institutions charged with maintaining the safety and legitimacy of the U.S. medical profession and provides prescriptive measures, addresses problems in need of reform, and suggests new procedures, resource allocation, and education in medical oversight.
About the Author
RUTH HOROWITZ is a professor of sociology at New York University. She is the author of Honor and the American Dream: Culture and Identity in a Chicano Community (Rutgers University Press) and Teen Mothers: Citizens or Dependents?
Table of Contents
List of Abbreviations
1 Public Member, Researcher, and Public Sociologist
2 How Licensure Became a Medical Institution
3 Public Participation
4 The State, the Media, and the Shaping of Public Opinion
5 Rhetorics of Law, Medicine, and Public Interest Shape Board Work
6 Medical and Legal Discourses in Investigatory Committees
7 Hearing and Sanction Deliberations
8 Democratic Deliberation and the Public Interest
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