Health, disease and healthcare in contemporary American society

SSC495: Final Essay                                                            

In this paper, you will consider and contextualize the personal viewpoint of one individual’s experience of health, disease and healthcare in contemporary American society. Using a personal or biographical essay from the “Narrative Matters” section of the journal Health Affairs, you will discuss and explain how the main issues raised by your author relate to the broader historical context in our current culture, including a comparison to a relevant past historical context.

Your paper should have a political, socio-economic, cultural theme that recognizes the social determinants of health.  Your paper should connect society and health issues (as this whole class does).

Due Date: You must submit an electronic copy to turnitin.com at the end of the Week 8 module.

Main Components of the Assignment:

·         Pick a Health Affairs article from the “Narrative Matters” section.

The journal describes this section in this manner: The Narrative Matters section of Health Affairs publishes personal essays (literary nonfiction) based on firsthand encounters that have a health policy aspect. These "policy narratives" take a story (or anecdote) and grow it beyond one person to include a big-picture view of the subject. The purpose of the Narrative Matters section is to put a human face on the health policy discussions in the other parts of  Health Affairs.”

NOTE: **Do NOT pick one of the articles from “Narrative Matters” in the Health Affairs journal that is already listed on the SSC495 syllabus

·         Present and describe your article: you should make sure to identify who the author is in terms of their personal/professional background, explain the viewpoint of the author and address the main themes of the article. What is the main thesis/argument of the article and what kinds of evidence does the author use to support their thesis/argument?  Consider your own reaction to this author’s personal viewpoint as well.

·         Contextualize the article: What components of this article make it clear that it was written in the present day? What does it tell us about our current culture in terms of health policy, the public health issues that matter to Americans in the 21st century, the healthcare system and healthcare professionals, and the diseases and conditions that strike a chord with the American public?

·         Compare this viewpoint with a past time period, and reflect on how this article would have been different if it had been written at a different specified time.

The paper must:

·         be 4-5 pages long;

·         use the Chicago Manual of Style or the MLA Manual of Style format for both in-text citations and a “Works Cited” page;

·         reference at least two course readings.


•         The Academic resource center and writing center is available for one on one consultation and is a good place to go with drafts to get advice.  You can make appointments online.

•         Purdue University’s online writing lab (OWL) has instructions for how to use Chicago Manual of Style and the MLA Manual of Style.  See and for information and examples on both citation styles.

Health, disease and healthcare in contemporary American society

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