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Support Guide for Health Personnel Interested in Working with the Occupy Wall Street Movement

Please see the attached document.


From the Introduction:
What is the purpose of this guide?

Many health care personnel have expressed an interest in supporting the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement but are unsure how they can best participate. The goal of this guide is to synthesize some of the historical experience of physicians working with social movements as well as our own experience with working with Occupy Wall Street in order to provide practical guidance to health care professionals. Anyone can participate in OWS activities as a citizen. This document, however, will discuss bringing professional medical expertise to OWS. This document has been prepared specifically for the US context, but some of the issues may be germane to other countries.


Why might health care professionals want to support OWS?
Many of us are profoundly dissatisfied with the current health care system. The 2009 health care reform law (P-PACA) essentially turned the health care system over to the insurance industry; many of us see the for-profit insurance industry as part of the problem, not the solution. Perfectly reasonable alternatives - Single Payer, Medicare for All - were simply dismissed by the political elites, forcing many doctors and nurses to resort to civil disobedience to get media attention for these proposals. Many of us feel that true health for the people of the United States cannot happen unless we address the profound social inequalities that are particularly characteristic of the US. We cannot have a healthy people if our environment is polluted, ours schools and communities degraded, and vast sectors of our population tied down in the military industrial and the prison industrial complexes. With the current recession and the political climate in Washington these social inequalities seem only likely to worsen. The Occupy Wall Street movement has shied away from making specific demands. But their emphasis on making the wealthy pay, on direct democracy, and on reducing income inequalities, speaks to many of the issues we are concerned about.


This guide was prepared by members of the Montefiore Residency Program in Social Medicine and Physicians for a National Health Program-NY Metro Chapter. This document does not represent the official position of our organizations; they are provided for identification purposes only. We intend to continue revising this document as we gain more experience with medical solidarity. We welcome your feedback which can be sent to either of the authors:
Matt Anderson Residency Program in Social Medicine Montefiore/Einstein Department of Family and Social Medicine (email: [email protected])
Laurie Wen Physicians for a National Health Program-NY Metro Chapter (email: [email protected])

2 Dec 2011
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