Syndemics

I have collaborated with Merrill Singer to advance the concept of syndemics for the past 10 years. The concept recognizes that diseases co-exist and cluster in vulnerable populations as a consequence of social/structural factors. It offers significant benefits to the field of the global health as it extends a recognition of the social determinants of health to the level of populations, and in so doing, highlighting social inequities and the unjust distribution of power as directly affecting health. We have detailed the syndemics of syringe mediated infections, neglected tropical diseases, tick-borne diseases, and childhood diarrhea. I served as the keynote speaker (in lieu of Merrill Singer) at a National Academy of Science symposium on violence, and presented the framework applied to intimate partner violence, HIV, and gender inequality. Our piece in the Lancet currently has 177 citations, and we are working on a systematic review of recent syndemics literature for a special issue of Social Science and Medicine.