Injustice in Healthcare: A Navajo Case Study
LeMasters, Katherine H. (Kate)
Washington and Lee University -- Capstone in Shepherd Poverty Program
Health care reform
United States. Indian Health Service
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Katherine H. (Kate) LeMasters is a member of the Class of 2015 of Washington and Lee University.Capstone; [FULL-TEXT FREELY AVAILABLE ONLINE]Significant health inequalities exist between the Navajo tribe and the US population as a whole and are worsening over time. I argue that while these health issues are concerning, there are also larger systemic issues (i.e., the Navajo’s historic and contemporary marginalization, the removal of traditional medicine from formal healthcare settings, etc.) that continually reproduce these health issues, which create an injustice. Using social justice theory, I draw on Norman Daniels and Martha Nussbaum to establish that the health inequalities on Navajo Nation are unjust. By removing the Navajo’s fair equality of opportunity and capability in health choices, the US has imposed unjust healthcare and thus unjust health-related inequalities on the Navajo. I then propose why and how a hybrid healthcare model based in medical pluralism that integrates both traditional and Western medicine potentially corrects for the sources of health-related injustice within Navajo Nation by reinstating peoples’ freedom to choose what they believe to be good health.