Call for Papers: Access and Social Justice

The Covid-19 pandemic has stripped away comfortable illusions, has exposed how fragile our medical, governmental, and social health care systems, and has shed additional light on deeply problematic inequalities in the distribution and allocation of care. We mustn’t return to normal; normal was not good enough. For this reason, we are continuing this year in the theme of accessibility. Who has access to care? Who doesn’t? Why? Additionally, we encourage submissions that look at social justice and health broadly. From the Black Lives Matter movement, to women’s rights to their bodies, to disability and LGBTQIA communities fighting for basic access and care, the problems of health equity are systemic.

THEME: Access and Social Justice

How does accessibility as a facet of social justice impact how people manage and make sense of their health? Access to medical services can mean many things—from insurance coverage, to social services that make medical care possible, to outright discrimination for disadvantaged groups. “Access” in medicine is a complex concept that has been explored extensively in health policy and medical journals; here at Medical Humanities we are interested in the centrality of the human grappling with any aspect of accessibility in the context of healthcare. We would like to emphasize work discussing access as a moral imperative, underpinned by fundamental human rights, that is so easily obscured when policy, economics, and social inequality/unresolved societal tensions intersect. We extend an invitation to scholars working on themes of access to submit blog posts and journal content that address this issue in the context of medical humanities. In particular, we would like to propose the following micro-themes running throughout the year, and we invite you to consider them as factors in access to health care:

  1. Disability (physical and intellectual disability, including neurodiversity; e.g., designing inclusive and easily accessible healthcare for people with disabilities)
  2. LGBTQIA issues (especially for issues of healthcare access for LGBTQIA youth, but not only
  3. Race
  4. Poverty
  5. Language & health literacy (e.g., immigrants’ access to health care in their native tongue, medical interpretation, general health literacy—e.g., knowledge of basic preventative medicine concepts such as frequency of vaccines and health screenings, etc.)

If you have work in progress on the theme of access to healthcare in general or on any of these themes in particular, have ideas that are best suited to blog commentary than to a full length article, or have read or experienced something on the topic of access that deserves more in-depth commentary, consider submitting a blog post as a way to generate a fruitful discussion on this topic, and also as a preliminary introduction to your work for the public. Blog posts should be roughly 800 words and ideally accompanied by an illustration; they should be submitted via our portal and will undergo editorial review. We accept submissions on a rolling basis. We welcome your inquiries at (blog content editor) (Medical Humanities editor).


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