press release

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 @ 7:00 PM
Nonstop Institute of Yellow Springs Ohio
305 N. Walnut Street, Yellow Springs, Ohio

“Capitalism and the health impacts of the economic collapse” with Stephen Bezruchka is presented as a live interactive teleconference discussion regarding our guest’s long-standing work in population health and his insightful appraisal of our current circumstances.

Stephen Bezruchka, a graduate of Harvard, Johns Hopkins and Stanford universities, teaches courses in population health in the Department of Global Health at UW. He received the 2002 Outstanding Teacher Award and the 2008 Faculty Community Service Award in the School of Public Health.  He practiced as an emergency physician for 30 years.    He directs the Population Health Forum at the University of Washington that tries to engage Americans in questioning why they die so much younger than people in all the other rich nations and a few poor ones despite spending half of the world’s health care bill.  He asks:  “do you want health or health care?”

This planned discussion with Nonstop and the Yellow Springs community builds upon Bezruchka’s recent talk for Alternative Radio, “Capitalism and Health,” where he examines economic turmoil in respect to its implications for public health. An overriding point that he brings home concerns how our economic, political, medical and social systems do not exist in disconnected orbits but bear upon each other in important and complex ways deserving our attention.

While with the ‘economic downturn’ certain stresses and hazards to health are heightened, Bezruchka finds that the news is not all bad.  In an industrialized corporate-driven society such as our own, the measure of disengagement that a recession provides from our routines of obsessive productivity and ever-intensified consumption in fact has meaningful positive impacts on public health.

More broadly, Bezruchka argues that our current economic crisis (which is by these other names an economic collapse) “is the best opportunity to rethink capitalism we’ll ever have in our lifetimes.”  Rather than explaining recent financial sector failures as  some kind of unexpected exception, Bezruchka finds this such crisis symptomatic of a system designed to repeatedly run to the edge of its (as well as each of our own) exhaustion.  He urges us rather to take this opportunity to pursue a sustainable equitable plan for living better together, longer, healthier and with greater satisfaction.

Visit our links for Stephen Bezruchka’s “Population Health Web Ramble,” his “Questions to consider for thinking about population health” as well transcript text of “Capitalism and Health.”  Also explore the additional links to Public Health Forum and information concerning  the Unnatural Causes documentary series scheduled to  begin airing on our local PBS station the weekend before this discussion event at Nonstop.