Syndemic Suffering: Social Distress, Depression, and Diabetes Among Mexican Immigrant Women

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Left Coast Press, Sep 30, 2012 - Medical - 145 pages
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In a major contribution to the study of diabetes, this book is the first to analyze the disease through a syndemic framework. An innovative, mixed-methods study, Emily Mendenhall shows how adverse social conditions, such as poverty and oppressive relationships, disproportionately stress certain populations and expose them to disease clusters. She goes beyond epidemiological research that has linked diabetes and depression, revealing how broad structural inequalities play out in the life histories of individuals, families and communities and lead to higher rates of mortality and morbidity. This intimate portrait of syndemic suffering is a model study of chronic disease disparity among the poor in high income countries and will be widely read in public health, medical anthropology, and related fields.

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1 Synthesizing the Syndemic
The Endurance of Syndemic Suffering
An Analysis of Social Stress
Immigration Integration and Isolation
Understanding Distress and Diabetes
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About the author (2012)

Emily Mendenhall is an Assistant Professor of Global Health in the Science, Technology and International Affairs (STIA) Program at Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. Her research examines how political-economic and social processes shape disease distribution and illness experiences within and between nations. Emily received her Ph.D. in medical anthropology from Northwestern University and M.P.H. in global public health from Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. Previous positions include Research Associate with the Collaborative Research Unit at John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County in Chicago, United States; NIH Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholar at Public Health Foundation of India in Delhi, India; Research Fellow in the Developmental Pathways for Health Research Unit at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa; and Visiting Research Fellow at the Center for Global Mental Health at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in London, United Kingdom. She is also founder of a non-profit committed to developing global health curricula for youth through which she has edited two readers: Global Health Narratives: A Reader for Youth and Environmental Health Narratives: A Reader for Youth (

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