Pushing the Syndemic Research Agenda Forward: a Comment on Pitpitan et al
- Rosa M. Gonzalez-Guarda PhD, MPH, RN
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Dr. Merril Singer, a medical anthropologist, first introduced the concept of a syndemic in the mid-1990s to describe the co-occurrence and interactions between two or more diseases to disproportionately impact the health and well-being of marginalized communities [1, 2]. Unlike the traditional medical model that attempts to isolate the causes of diseases by controlling for potential confounders such as poverty, the syndemic approach considers the important role that social determinants of health play in not only contributing to the emergence of diseases, but also exacerbating the effects of these diseases on the health and well-being of vulnerable communities [3, 4]. This approach therefore appears to be especially promising in retooling our public health efforts to address health disparities both within a national and global context.
In their study entitled, “Co-Occurring Psychosocial Problems and HIV Risk Among Women Attending Drinking Venues in a South African Township: a Syndemic Ap
- Singer M. A dose of drugs, a touch of violence, a case of AIDS: Conceptualizing the SAVA syndemic. Free Inq in Creativ Sociol. 1996;24(2):99–110
- Singer M. Introduction to syndemics. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass; 2009
- Milstein B. Hygeia’s constellation: Navigating health futures in a dynamic and democratic world. Atlanta, GA: Syndemics Prevention Network, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). 2008. http://www.cdc.gov/syndemics/monograph/index.htm. Accessed March 13, 2009.
- Singer M, Clair S. Syndemic and public health: Reconceptualizing diseases in bio-social context. Med Anthropol Q. 2003;17(4), 423–441 CrossRef
- Pitpitan EV, Kalichman SC, Eaton LA, et al. Co-occurring psychosocial problems and HIV risk among women attending drinking venues in a South African township: A syndemic approach. Ann Behav Med. 2013. doi: 10.1007/s12160-012-9420-3
- National Institutes of Health. NIH RePORTER. National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD; November 2012. http://projectreporter.nih.gov/reporter_searchresults.cfm. Accessed November 16, 2012.
- Gonzalez-Guarda, RM. The syndemic orientation: Implications for eliminating Hispanic health disparities. Hisp Health Care Int. 2009; 7(3):114–115. doi: 10.1891/1540-418.104.22.168 CrossRef
- Pushing the Syndemic Research Agenda Forward: a Comment on Pitpitan et al
Annals of Behavioral Medicine
Volume 45, Issue 2 , pp 135-136
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- 1. University of Miami, School of Nursing and Health Studies, Miami, FL, USA