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Sandro Galea

Well

What We Need to Talk About When We Talk About Health

Oxford University Press 2020

New Books in MedicineNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Public PolicyNew Books in Science & Technology March 10, 2020 Manuel Arredondo

In Well: What We Need to Talk About When We Talk About Health (Oxford University Press, 2019), physician Sandro Galea examines what Americans miss...

In Well: What We Need to Talk About When We Talk About Health (Oxford University Press, 2019), physician Sandro Galea examines what Americans miss when they fixate on healthcare: health. Americans spend more money on health than people anywhere else in the world. And what do they get for it? Statistically, not much. Americans today live shorter, less healthy lives than citizens of other rich countries, and these trends show no signs of letting up.

The problem, Sandro Galea argues, is that Americans focus on the wrong things when they think about health. Our national understanding of what constitutes “being well” is centered on medicine — the lifestyles we adopt to stay healthy, and the insurance plans and prescriptions we fall back on when we’re not. While all these things are important, they’ve not proven to be the difference between healthy and unhealthy on the large scale.

Well is a radical examination of the subtle and not-so-subtle factors that determine who gets to be healthy in America. Galea shows how the country’s failing health is a product of American history and character — and how refocusing on our national health can usher enlightenment across American life and politics.

Dr. Sandro Galea, MD is the Robert A. Knox professor and dean at the Boston University School of Public Health. He is the former Chair of Epidemiology at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Prior to his academic career in public health, Dr. Galea practiced emergency medicine in Canada and served in Somalia with Doctors Without Borders. He was named one of TIME magazine’s epidemiology innovators in 2006 and Thomson Reuters listed him as one of the “World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds” for the social sciences in 2015.


Manuel Arredondo, LCSW, MPH is a clinical social worker and public health advocate in Oakland, CA.