Medical research over the last two decades has clearly documented that people of lower socioeconomic status and from minority racial and ethnic backgrounds have worse health, worse access to medical care and often receive a lower standard of health care. The poorer health and inferior healthcare received by the underprivileged are pointedly referred to as inequities in health and health care. With this perspective, a person and a community’s health -- and the healthcare they receive -- are measures of social justice.
San Francisco, long a champion of social change, is leading the charge to improve the health of people who are socially disadvantaged. Through research and innovations in practice, policy and education, faculty at UCSF and Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital (arguably our nation's premier public hospital) are at the head of a movement to ensure that medical care mitigates, not perpetuates, societal injustices. Our course presents an approach to medical care that integrates medical research with a social justice perspective to tackle some of the most critical issues that complicate the care of underserved patients and to re-inspire and re-instill meaning and purpose to the helping professions