"Reform or Exclude?: Debating Medicine’s Role in Disability and Mental Health"
Friday, November 9, 2018 - 3:35pm
Andrew J. Hogan
Department of History
Creighton University

Commentators both outside and within the medical community have acknowledged, since the 1950s, the shortcomings of the “medical model” approach to disability and mental health. Some within the medical community called for reform, arguing that healthcare providers should improve their focus on the psychosocial aspects of disease and disability, to counteract the overly reductive orientation of late 20th century biomedicine. Others, including certain psychiatrists, psychologists, sociologists, and disability advocates argued that many aspects of disability and mental health were primarily social and political—rather than medical issues—and thus should be excluded from physician oversight. This presentation examines efforts by the World Health Organization to respond to various critiques of the “medical model,” and ongoing resistance by disability scholars and self-advocates to such medical reform efforts, which continued to address mental health and disability as medical concerns, rather than primarily social and political issues.