Share Share
Text size Increase font size Decrease font size

iconEncyclopedia

Encyclopedia of Evaluation

Sandra Mathison

Pub. date: 2005 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781412950558

Print ISBN: 9780761926092 | Online ISBN: 9781412950558

Share Share
Text size Increase font size Decrease font size

Encyclopedia Entry

Syndemic

Bobby Milstein

Anthropologist Merrill Singer coined the term syndemic in the early 1990s to describe the mutually reinforcing nature of health crises, such as substance abuse, violence, and AIDS, that take hold in communities with harsh and inequitable living conditions. Observers throughout history have recognized that different disease processes interact, but Singer's innovation was to interpret those connections as evidence of a higher order phenomenon, which he named a “syndemic.” A generic definition “is two or more afflictions, interacting synergistically, contributing to excess burden of disease in a population.” Since the 1970s, health planners have understood that effective responses to the intertwined afflictions within communities require systemwide interventions. However, the desire to achieve systemic change stands in opposition to what most public health agencies are prepared to do. Ingrained in financial structures, problem-solving frameworks, statistical models, and the criteria for professional prestige is the idea, inherited from medical science, that each affliction ...

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please, subscribe or login to access all Methods content.

Click here to see full text

Articles in Google Scholar by