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July 27, 1970

Sociology of Medicine

Author Affiliations

American Medical Association Chicago

JAMA. 1970;213(4):630. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03170300074035

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While the physician regards medicine as primarily a doctor-patient relationship, in reality a great deal more is involved—nothingnothing less than all of society. In recent years these social implications of medicine have been receiving increasing attention from both physicians and laymen. Sociologists have established a special niche called the sociology of medicine, a convenient focus for studying the relationships of society and illness. The professional sociologists need to learn a great deal about medical problems and physicians a great deal about social problems. Then both professions can cooperate with each other and with the nonprofessional, to get us out of our present mess.

A new publication, Sociology of Medicine, points up many problems in the field. The author is a sociologist whose special interest is medicine; the book is intended as a textbook, presumably in sociology classes but probably adaptable to medical classes as well. The subjects discussed are many