Doin’ The Work: Frontline Stories of Social Change

Taking Action on Social Determinants of Health - Armen Henderson, MD

November 1, 2021

Episode 47
Guest: Armen Henderson, MD
Host: Shimon Cohen, LCSW
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Check out the new Doin’ The Work Collection of hoodies, tees, mugs, and tote bags! Rep the podcast you love while doin’ the work.

Thank you to this episode’s sponsor! The University of Tennessee Knoxville College of Social Work (UTK) has a phenomenal social work program, with the opportunity to do your bachelor’s master’s, and doctorate of social work online. Scholarships are available.

In this episode, I talk with Dr. Armen Henderson from Miami, Florida. Armen is the Director of Health Programs at Dream Defenders, the Founder of Dade County Street Response, and an Internal Medicine Physician and Assistant Professor at the University of Miami. He talks about his community-based work in bringing medicine from out of the confines of the hospital setting directly to poor and working-class communities with a variety of programs ranging from wellness checks and case management to Stop the Bleed gunshot wound trainings. Armen discusses how social determinants of health are rooted in racism and classism and social inequity. For example, he talks about how hurricanes in Miami are an environmental issue connected to climate change that intersects with racism and classism in terms of who is most impacted by hurricanes and do not have the resources to simply leave town when danger strikes. He explains how his team serves folks who are unhoused in a variety of ways, particularly during the COVID pandemic, which led to him being racially profiled and arrested in front of his home. Armen shares how he got into this work, which was directly connected to the murder of Trayvon Martin and connecting with Dream Defenders, who were formed at that time due to the killing of Trayvon. Armen saw a way to challenge racism and classism in medicine and organize for racial justice and medicine for the people using an abolitionist, anti-capitalist approach. I hope this conversation inspires you to action.
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