American Sociological Association

Medicine and Health

Health is often viewed as an individual trait arising from lifestyle choices and individual physiology. Sociological research has contributed to improving the definition of health and well-being through studies of how social structure and culture impact health, the prevalence of illness among individuals and groups, the availability and acceptance of treatment, and the functioning of the health care delivery system.

Sociological research has enhanced our understanding of medical and health policies, including the importance of patient-provider interaction, the influence of implicit bias on doctors’ recommendations, and how unequal access to health care reproduces social inequalities in well-being. Since 2015, sociology has been included on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

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