Health/PAC (Policy Advisory Center) bulletins now available onlineHistorians in the News
tags: Columbia University, digital archives, Health/PAC
Before there was an internet, with blogs, listservs and web pages to turn to, there was the Health/PAC Bulletin, the hard-hitting and muckraking journal of health activism and health care system analyses and critiques. A new web site, www.healthpacbulletin.org, is a complete and searchable digital collection of Health/PAC’s influential publication, which was published from 1968 through 1993. Health/PAC staffers and authors in New York City and briefly, a West Coast office in San Francisco, wrote and spoke to health activists across the country on every issue from free clinics to women’s health struggles to health worker organizing to environmental justice. Health/PAC both reported on what was going on and reflected back on a wide variety of strategies and tactics to build a more just health care system – a conversation that continues today.
Health/PAC coined the terms “medical empire” and “medical industrial complex” to capture the ways the profit motive distorted priorities in the American health care system. It critiqued big Pharma and rising health care costs, explored the differing forms of health activism, and made it clear that a seemingly disorganized health care system was in fact quite organized to serve ends other than health care. Its first book, The American Health Empire (1970), published by Random House, brought its analysis to national attention. Other edited collections of the Bulletins followed:Prognosis Negative (1976) and Beyond Crisis (1994). Many of today’s leading health activists, reformers and policy scholars got their start at Health/ PAC.
The website adds immeasurably to the resources documenting the history of mid- to late- 20th century American health policy and politics. Activists, scholars, journalists, practitioners, professors, and students will all find these Bulletins a source of useful analysis and information. This is not only a way to learn about the late 20th century history, but to consider why certain issues continue to plague our health system.
The site is a work in progress and we welcome your feedback and suggestions. It was a real labor to get these collected and available and we hope you find the site a useful resource.
-- David Rosner, PhD
Ronald H. Lauterstein Professor of Sociomedical Science and Professor of History