Health and Healthcare

On this four-year anniversary of the World Health Organization labeling COVID-19 a pandemic, we focus on the topic of health and healthcare. Below are a lesson, author talks, children’s books, the plight of health care in Gaza, and this day in people’s history entries.


Who’s to Blame? A People’s Tribunal on the Coronavirus Pandemic

Source: Peter Kneffel/dpa via AP

This people’s tribunal by middle-school teacher Caneisha Mills begins with the premise that a heinous crime is being committed as COVID-19 endangers tens of millions of people’s lives. But who or what was responsible for this crime? Students weigh the evidence. Share your feedback if you use the lesson.

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Author Talks

Legacy by Dr. Uché Blackstock

Dr. Uché Blackstock spoke on Democracy Now! about her new book, Legacy: A Black Physician Reckons with Racism in Medicine about how racism shapes health and healthcare; maternal health and midwives; her family of physicians; healthcare as a human right; and more.

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Under the Skin by Linda Villarosa

[One] problem was the intersection of environmental racism. In places that were already polluted, this was a problem of the lungs — if your lungs were damaged because you live near an incinerator, you live near a refinery, the air isn’t good in your community, then you’re going to have worse COVID hospitalization and higher death rates. And that happened right away in Cancer Alley.

Author Linda Villarosa discussed her book, Under the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on American Lives and on the Health of Our Nation, in our Teach the Black Freedom Struggle online series.

Check out the recording, an audiogram, the transcript, and other resources.

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Pre-K–12 Books

 A graphic showing a Black hand, medical equipment, and flowers, along with the words "The People's Hospital"

Teaching for Change’s Social Justice Books offer a carefully selected list of recommended titles for pre-K–12 on health and healthcare. Two of our favorite titles are The Women Who Caught the Babies: A Story of African American Midwives by Eloise Greenfield and The People’s Hospital: Hope and Peril in American Medicine by Ricardo Nuila.


Palestine-Israel Connections

Health Care and Israel’s War on Gaza

We are talking about war and genocide against everyone. What’s happening now in Gaza, since the beginning of the war until now, is a war against hospitals, a war against the healthcare system. Yes, hospitals have been destroyed, medical storehouses, as well. Many ambulance vehicles were destroyed. Many EMS officers were martyred. There have been direct and indirect targeting of paramedics. — Dr. Nassim Hassan, the head of the emergency unit at Nasser Hospital on Democracy Now!

This infographic is from Visualizing Palestine.

The image is “a tribute to heroic health workers in Gaza, who are paying an unbearable price to save as many people as possible during the most recent genocide inflicted by Israel as of the end of December 2023.”

Find more classroom resources including lessons, podcasts, films, and articles to teach about Palestine-Israel.

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This Day in People’s History

Our This Day in People’s History series is searchable by date, theme, and state. Check out the entries on healthcare, including the Lincoln Hospital occupation by the Young Lords, the Lincoln Pediatric Collective, the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic, and more.

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