Dying of Whiteness
How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America's Heartland
How can we use health care to create a more just, equitable, and happier world? Expert physician Jonathan Metzl says that our health is deeply connected to where we come from, our social class, and how we vote—if we want everyone to be healthy, we need to improve quality of life for people across racial, economic, and political lines. He’s an award-winning author, professor of Sociology and Psychiatry, and medical director at Vanderbilt University, as well as the world’s most respected authority on health equity. Jonathan is creating a “kinder, more equitable society” using “middle ground and common sense solutions to help people on both sides.”
“Metzl is provocative...he brings a unique blend of psychiatric insight and data analysis—as well as philosophical insights—into concepts of risk, cost, and community.”— Boston Globe
Dr. Jonathan Metzl is a renowned psychiatrist, professor, and the world’s foremost expert on the relationship between socioeconomic status and race when it comes to physical and mental health. Jonathan calls this “structural competency”, and it means understanding all the pieces that make up our health: where we come from, where we went to school, who we know, how much money we make, and how we vote. We can use this knowledge to achieve a new level of health equity that will help more people before they get sick. This will mean paying closer attention to the needs and challenges faced by communities that are often overlooked by policymakers. LitMed calls Jonathan’s work “a major contribution to public health, sociology, and American studies.”
The former Guggenheim fellow is the author of several books including Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America's Heartland, winner of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Book Award. It is filled with interviews with real, everyday Americans, and demonstrates the need for cooperation and diversity in a divided country. The book makes the case that many Americans vote against their own interests out of fear or ignorance, and this leads them to have worse health outcomes and quality of life. Public Books says that “Metzl’s shocking conclusions keep ringing in your head long after you put his book down.” His earlier books include The Protest Psychosis, Prozac on the Couch, and Against Health: How Health Became the New Morality. Alondra Nelson of Columbia University and the Social Science Research Council calls his writing “pathbreaking, provocative, empathetic, and poignant.”
Jonathan is the Frederick B. Rentschler II Professor of Sociology and Psychiatry, and the director of the Department of Medicine, Health, and Society at Vanderbilt University. He is the winner of the 2020 APA Benjamin Rush Award for Scholarship, and has written extensively for the New York Times, Washington Post, VICE, Politico, and other major publications about the most urgent hot-button issues facing America and the world. He has appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, C-SPAN, CNN, AM Joy, PBS’s Amanpour & Co., and HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher.