History of Medicine Hosts: "Emergent Economies, Emergent Medicine: Emergency Medical Services and the Normalization of Everyday Violence in 1980s Los Angeles"
It is well known that rising rates of incarceration, the emergence of working poverty, and the prevalence of street violence in the early 1970s marked a shift away from 1960s antipoverty initiatives to new war on crime initiatives as the economy transformed from a manufacturing economy to a service economy. It is less known, however, how such transformations triggered a massive re-organization of U.S. healthcare delivery systems. Whereas citizens and politicians in 1965 once called for a job for every man and the building of a hospital in every neighborhood as solutions to universalizing healthcare in a free market system, citizens and politicians were more prone, by the 1980s, to call for an emergency medical system in every region as a new solution to universalizing healthcare. By tracing the development of modern emergency medical systems in Los Angeles, “Emergent Economies, Emergent Medicine” argues the poverty, race, and sexuality of street violence in urban black and brown neighborhoods served as productive sites to demonstrate and defend the need for expensive and profitable emergency medical systems in white suburban districts despite their cost and severely limited ability to provide comprehensive healthcare.
Drexel UniversityNic John Ramos, PhDAssistant Professor, Department of History