Stories and Society

Using Literature to Teach Medical Students about Public Health and Social Justice

Martin T. Donohoe, MD, FACP

This paper presents an argument for enhancing the public health education of medical students through the use of literature, with the goal of creating activist physicians knowledgeable about, and eager to confront, the social, economic, and cultural contributors to illness. The current state of training in ethics and public health will be reviewed, followed by a description of injustices which contribute to poor health. The value of literature to public health education will be described, and specific curricular suggestions offered.