Archives     Advertise     Editorial Calendar      Advertiser Index     Subscribe     Contact Us    


The Crossroads of People & Medicine


 

Jonathan Metzl Takes a Path Less Traveled

"You can do whatever you want in life, after medical school." That was the running joke at home for Jonathan Metzl, MD, PhD, director of the Center for Medicine, Health, and Society at Vanderbilt University.

One of four boys born to a pediatrician father and psychoanalyst mother, Metzl and his brothers all went on to pursue medical careers. And while a family of physicians isn't necessarily unusual, the Metzl's story is. "My father was an immigrant who escaped Europe during World War II," Metzl explained. "The message we got growing up and one that we live by is that taking care of people is the way of giving back to those who saved our family's lives during a time of intense turmoil."


Varied Interests

It was a message the Kansas City native took seriously. After receiving bachelor's degrees in biology and English literature, Metzl earned his medical degree from the University of Missouri. He then earned a master's degree in poetry during his psychiatry residency at Stanford University ... and went on to receive a PhD in American culture from the University of Michigan while working as a psychiatrist.

Metzl's unique insight into medicine and humanities has prepared him well for his multi-faceted role leading Vanderbilt's Center for Medicine, Health and Society - a multidisciplinary center that studies the social and societal dimensions of health and illness.

"On one hand I'm very appreciative of my knowledge in medical training and learning about the best way to diagnose and treat illnesses, but I've also become increasingly cognizant of the way socioeconomic and cultural barriers prevent our country from making the most people healthy that it can," Metzl said. "I became more interested in the ways health is a social justice issue, in addition to just my clinical interest."


A Good Fit

Metzl joined Vanderbilt in 2010 to help shape the direction of the newly formed center. "This was a chance to build institutional structure around issues I cared about, so it seemed like a great opportunity to spread information about medical and scientific knowledge and also to train students to understand the basic socioeconomic issues of health," he said.


Addressing Disparities

While strides have been made in racial and socioeconomic disparities, Metzl said there's still a way to go as Americans struggle to separate healthcare from politics.

"It feels like over the last few years we've taken a step back," he said. "If you take the Democratic or Republican framework away, the general premise of having a healthy country is to afford as many people as possible the right to healthy communities and access to healthcare. I feel like healthcare has became incredibly political and increasingly unjust."

Uniquely positioned to address those disparities, the center includes an interdisciplinary faculty and a popular undergrad program in medicine, health and society. They've also built a master's program and established a community identity looking at issues of social health and all of its biological, medical and political complexities. The center is also a resource for the medical community, with ongoing forums ranging in topic from military health and food politics to disabilities.

"Although we're in a college setting, we're open for clinicians from across the Nashville area," Metzl said. "Our professors speak in community settings and are engaged locally in many ways - from working with military communities to city planning."

As the program grows, so does its integration into the increasingly diverse Nashville community.


A Respected Voice

Metzl's personal areas of interest include psychiatry, race and health, the history of mental health, and gender. He's currently engaged in a study on common sense solutions to gun violence.

"My research looks at things we can do from a public policy standpoint to lessen gun violence in America," said Metzl, who's a frequent contributor to journals that examine policy positions and interventions to help lessen rates of gun violence. "There are ways people wrongly stigmatize mental illness for gun violence when that's just not the case," he said.

A frequent public health commentator for national news outlets, Metzl also has authored a number of books including The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease; Against Health: How Health Became the New Morality; and Prozac on the Couch. His op-ed pieces have been published nationally.

WEB:

Vanderbilt Center for Medicine, Health and Society

 
Share:

Related Articles:


Recent Articles

Ascension Saint Thomas Heart First in State, Region, Ascension to Offer Novel Medical Technique

On February 9, Ascension Saint Thomas Hospital West became the first Ascension hospital in the country and the only medical facility in Tennessee to offer intracoronary brachytherapy, a procedure that helps improve chest pain in patients with stents that have re-narrowed (sometimes called "collapsed") and reduces the chance of them narrowing again in the future.

Read More

Functional Seizures Associated with Stroke, Psychiatric Disorders in Electronic Health Records Study

In a large-scale study of electronic health records, Vanderbilt University Medical Center investigators have determined the prevalence of functional seizures and characterized comorbidities associated with them.

Read More

New survey shows minorities, children missing cancer screenings and vaccinations

52% of adults missing lifesaving screenings to prevent cancer are not rescheduling them

Read More

Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at Swedish Medical Center Sheds New Light on Brain Tumors

Neurosurgery is a complex and intricate process, and it is important to continuously refine and seek innovative techniques to make it safer, gentler and more precise and effective.

Read More

Study Finds Recommended ICU Sedatives Equally Safe, Effective

Sedative medications used in intensive care are associated with increased delirium, which is in turn connected with higher medical costs and greater risk of death and ICU-related dementia.

Read More

Spectrum Solutions Collaborates with UCLA on Saliva-Based Next-Gen Sequencing (NGS) Liquid Biopsy Research for the Early Detection of Lung Cancer

Study to focus on using saliva in the analysis of cell-free circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) to accurately and non-invasively detect non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Read More

DRUG COMPANIES URGED TO PROVIDE DISCOUNTS TO 340B COMMUNITY PHARMACIES

Yesterday, counsel for the American Hospital Association and the five other national groups and three individual hospital systems that sued the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) over its failure to halt drug company actions that undermine the 340B drug pricing program sent letters demanding that the offending drug companies immediately halt their illegal activities.

Read More

Study Shows Drastic Increases in Opioid-Affected Births

The rate of mothers who had an opioid-related diagnosis when delivering their baby increased by 131% from 2010-2017, as the incidence of babies diagnosed with drug withdrawal, known as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), increased by 82% nationally during that same time period.

Read More

Case Management: Enhancing Revenue, Care Transitions and Patient Outcomes throughout the Hospital System

The importance of hospital and health system case management has grown exponentially over the past 10 years and is now getting attention from leaders throughout the healthcare industry.

Read More

TennCare Block Grant Waiver Approved

More than a year after submitting Amendment 42 to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requesting a waiver to increase flexibility in the administration of the state's Medicaid program, Tennessee has received an affirmative nod to move forward.

Read More

Email Print
 
 

 

 


Tags:
and Society, Center for Medicine, Gun Violence, Health, Health and Public Policy, Health Disparities, Jonathan Metzl, Physician Spotlight, Social Determinants of Health, Vanderbilt University
Powered by Bondware
News Publishing Software

The browser you are using is outdated!

You may not be getting all you can out of your browsing experience
and may be open to security risks!

Consider upgrading to the latest version of your browser or choose on below: