How Do Contested Illnesses Become Public Health Concerns?: Understanding Stakeholders and the Process of Transformation

Provost Lecture Series Debra Swoboda (Dept. of Behavioral Sciences)
When Oct 26, 2009
from 01:00 PM to 03:00 PM
Where AC-4M07
Contact Name
Contact Phone 718-262-5338
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Current research on contested illnesses - illnesses whose nature and causation is considered controversial by members of the public and scientific communities - indicates that the emergence of new illnesses on the public health agenda is both a social and epidemiological process. Based on her studies of sufferer narratives, advocacy group forums, and physician practices, Dr. Swoboda will explain how contested illnesses such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, and Gulf War Syndrome have been appreciably transformed from psychological problems into diagnosable organic conditions. Her talk will center on the ways stakeholders push scientific understanding and create practices and paradigms for
negotiating diagnostic uncertainty, and what this process shows us about the emergence of new health concerns.