Metzl to discuss political allegiances, health decisions and racial anxiety in Jan. 11 VUSN Dean’s Diversity Lecture

Why do some Americans put their health at risk by allegiance to a political policy, issue or leader? What motivates them? How do politicians use those allegiances, as well as racial anxiety? And what can health care practitioners do for these patients? Physician and sociologist Jonathan M. Metzl, MD, PhD, will address these questions and more in the first VUSN Dean’s Diversity Lecture of 2021 on Monday, January 11, 2021, noon-1:30 p.m. CST via videoconference.

Vanderbilt Professor Jonathan Metzl stands outside Calhoun HallMetzl, a national expert on health and political policy and the Frederick B. Rentschler II Professor of Sociology and Psychiatry at Vanderbilt University, will present, “To Mask or Not to Mask: Americans at Odds with Their Own Health Needs.” The live online event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

“Dr. Metzl’s research regarding Americans, their health decisions and political allegiances is both informative and eye-opening,” said VUSN Dean Linda D. Norman, DSN, FAAN, the Valere Potter Menefee Professor of Nursing. “His information can help health care professionals better understand some of their patients. On a more universal level, understanding the politics behind health issues can help in developing strategies to advocate for heath equity.”

Metzl is the chair of the Department of Medicine, Health and Society at Vanderbilt. He has been honored with the 2020 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award, the 2020 APA Benjamin Rush Award for Scholarship, and a 2008 Guggenheim fellowship.

Metzl has written extensively for medical, psychiatric, and popular publications about some of the most urgent hot-button issues facing America and the world. His books include The Protest Psychosis, Prozac on the Couch, and Against Health: How Health Became the New Morality.

His new book, Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment is Killing America’s Heartland, was described by Kirkus Reviews as “a provocative, instructive contribution to the literature of public health as well as of contemporary politics.” He has spoken about politics and health on C-SPAN, MSNBC, FOX News and NPR, as well as on international broadcast programs.

Metzl received his MD degree from the University of Missouri, his master of arts in humanities/poetics and psychiatric internship/residency from Stanford University, and Ph.D. in American culture from the University of Michigan.

The Vanderbilt University School of Nursing Dean’s Diversity Lecture Series explores the diversity of backgrounds, cultures, ideas and viewpoints in our world today. It seeks to equip students, faculty, staff and other community members with the knowledge and understanding needed to lead nursing forward in a global society.