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Posts in Medicine & Public Health
Taking Care of Brooklyn: An Interview with Erin Wuebker

Taking Care of Brooklyn: An Interview with Erin Wuebker

Interviewed by Katie Uva

Today on the blog, editor Katie Uva talks to Erin Wuebker, Assistant Curator of the Brooklyn Historical Society's new exhibition, Taking Care of Brooklyn: Stories of Sickness and Health. The longterm exhibition, on view until June 2022, examines 400 years of Brooklyn's history through the lens of public health.

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The State Versus Harlem

The State Versus Harlem

By Matt Kautz

Over the past few years, Americans have paid greater attention to the harm caused by opiates and rising heroin use, specifically in white, rural areas. The New York State Department of Health has dedicated a large portion of its website to sharing statistics of opioid overdoses in the state, warning signs about what addiction looks like, information on the state’s program for monitoring doctor’s prescriptions, and how those addicted can receive treatment.

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Rivers, Filth and Heat: Riverbaths and the Fight over Public Bathing

Rivers, Filth and Heat: Riverbaths and the Fight over Public Bathing

By Naomi Adiv

In the summer of 1870, New York City got its first municipal bath: swimming pools sunk into the rivers, through which river water flowed. An 1871 New York Times article describes them: “baths are of the usual house-like model, and have a swimming area of eighty-five feet in length by sixty-five feet in width. They are… provided with sixty-eight dressing-rooms, have offices and rooms in an additional story, and are well lighted with gas for night bathing.” In the year after they were built, the Department of Public Works reported that they were regularly used to their capacity, particularly on hot summer days. At their height, there were twenty-two such baths around the waters of New York City.

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Grassroots Anti-Crack Activism in the Northwest Bronx

Grassroots Anti-Crack Activism in the Northwest Bronx

By Noël K. Wolfe

During the 1970s and 1980s, the Bronx was a national symbol of urban decay, used as a political backdrop to send messages of despair, governmental failure, the decline of urban spaces and other racialized messages of fear. Drug addiction and drug selling became a national, state, and local political battleground that reflected differing political ideologies. Even at the community level, a tension existed within New York City neighborhoods about how best to respond to drug crises. In 1969, New York Black Panther Party member Michael “Cetewayo” Tabor warned Harlemites about the long-term implications of inviting police, who he described as “alien hostile troops,” into their community to address heroin addiction and drug-related crime. While Tabor did not deny that those addicted to heroin were committing “most of their robberies, burglaries and thefts in the Black community against Black people,” he challenged community members to be suspicious of the motives behind “placing more pigs in the ghetto.” Tabor sought a community-driven solution to heroin addiction — one that did not include the police. Similarly in the Bronx, members of the Young Lords Party responded to heroin addiction by occupying the administrative offices of Lincoln Hospital in November 1970 and successfully demanding a drug treatment program for community members. The Lincoln Hospital Detox Program, a “community-worker controlled program,” paired political education with therapeutic support to assist those seeking help to overcome addiction.

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