The Thirty-Sixth Annual Molly and Sidney N. Zubrow Award Program
Robert A. Aronowitz, MD
Professor and Chair, History and Sociology of Science, School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania
Professor, Family Medicine and Community Health, Perelman School of Medicine
"The Social and Psychological Efficacy of Risk Interventions"
Increasingly, medical interventions reduce risk rather than treat symptoms or cure disease. Will future Americans look back at our world of risky medicine in the same way we regard the bleeding and purging done in the early 19th century? Perhaps, but Dr. Aronowitz argues that healers and patients then and now have not been irrational. Therapeutics “work” when there is witnessed evidence of effects and meaning-giving beliefs about the body and health, and the social and psychological efficacy of many practices today lies in controlling fear and reducing uncertainty. This historically grounded insight suggests new ways of understanding and doing something about our underperforming and often wasteful health system.