Medicine and Society

How Can Jewish and Non-Jewish People Collaborate to Improve Healthcare in the US? Considering Community, Autonomy, and Solidarity

Zackary Berger


The coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19COVID) pandemic has highlighted the ways in which municipal, state, and Federal agencies in the USA have failed to address the inequities of present-day health systems. As alternative organizing centers outside these agencies, local communities are potentially situated to redress the inequities of present-day health systems in a collaborative manner that demonstrates solidarity by supplementing a purely scientific model of medicine and healthcare. In the mid-twentieth century, the Black Panthers, a revolutionary African American nationalist organization that focused on socialism and self-defense, introduced highly influential free clinics, which sought to bring expertise to the Black community on their own terms. This required bringing the benefits of biomedicine to those who customarily had not seen them. By extension, their approach raises questions regarding community- and expertise-centered approaches for the Jewish community: how is it engaged in healthcare for itself (in its diverse subcategories) and for others? Moreover, understanding how the Jewish community has been ill-served by present-day health-care systems might spur Jewish institutions to reimagine how healthcare should work.

Rambam Maimonides Med J 2023;14(3):e0017