231631 Applications of Criminological Theory to Understand Social Justice Issues within Public Health

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 8:50 AM - 9:10 AM

Eve Waltermaurer, PhD , Department of Sociology, State University of New York in New Paltz, New Paltz, NY
As we seek in public health to have a greater understanding of the intersection between social justice and health determinants, we have already begun to draw from the discipline of sociology to define theoretical frameworks to explain health disparities across race, gender and social class. However, within sociology, the discipline of criminology offers us the opportunity to further this conceptualization while also identifying ways to reduce health disparities experienced by vulnerable populations. While criminological theory apparently seeks to explain why criminal behavior is prevalent within certain geographic areas, groups or individuals, its tenants focus on understanding how social influences result in behaviors that are counter to our expectations of social well-being. When we consider that poor health outcomes and disparities in health well-being within certain geographic areas, groups and individuals are, like crime, tied into to issues of social justice it seems clear that applying criminological theory to exploring health disparities is not only plausible but desirable as we seek to ameliorate these problems. This session illustrates this interdisciplinary approach focusing on four prominent criminological theories: social disorganization theory, critical/conflict theory, sub-cultural theory and feminist criminology. This session provides a brief explanation of each of these theories illustrating their utility in improving our understanding of social justice within public health relative to social class, race and gender. These theories are then applied to our understanding of the epidemiology of specific health outcomes namely: exposure to environmental toxins, heroin addiction, intimate partner violence, and diabetes drawing from existing research.

Learning Areas:
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Program planning
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Understand basic tenants of criminological theory; 2. Identify the relationships of criminological theories to issues of social justice in health exposures and outcomes; 3. Evaluate health conditions through a social justice lens.

Keywords: Criminal Justice, Violence Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: The presenter has authored articles on similar topics to the Epidemiological Criminology theme.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.