Introduction of new editor Luke Wallin:
Charles Entrekin and I met in 1966 as graduate students in Philosophy, at the University of Alabama. I was taken by his brilliance and his laughter, and recognized that I’d found someone who loved philosophy as I did. We were excited to explore Wittgenstein and Merleau-Ponty, to practice dialectics, and to learn the philosopher’s skills of shredding (the mean skill) and contextualizing (the kind skill).
Charles moved to the West Coast, and I to the East. We followed parallel roads, writing books, teaching, working in business, raising families. In the last few years we’ve intensified sharing our interests in language, culture, and social justice.
In March of 2011 Charles invited me to join him as an editor of Sisyphus, his online magazine. This year I’ve enjoyed working with Charles on our first issue together.
Introduction to the Issue:
The Health and Hunger in America issue contains five articles.
The first piece is by an American nurse working in South Africa. Ruth Stark, who holds a PhD in Health Services and Social Change, brings a perspective that reflects her career with the World Health Organization in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. I’ve read many of her essays, and what lingers with me is the sense of joy-within-frustration, for the doctors, nurses, and other health providers she describes. Their working conditions seem harsh. Yet there is something about their stories that clarifies health care, and all human care. They’re also a point of reference when we consider health and hunger in America.
Ruth’s piece, “The Taxi Driver,” profiles Mr.Thabani Zuma, a nurse in Zululand, South Africa. His work with AIDS education is interesting, but what’s really compelling is his journey to professional status, and the way he treats people now that he has achieved it.
In “Home Visits,” Dr. Mike Stehney shows readers how much a doctor can learn from five minutes of a house call. He also shows resistance by hospitals to such visits. How can a doctor include a home visit in the care of an individual? How can such visits be brought into medical education?
In an interview conducted by Eva Sage Gordon for Sisyphus, Dr. Marsha Fretwell describes a new funding model for the care for elderly patients. The program she directs has its financial incentives backwards-the rewards come from preventive medicine, keeping patients healthy and independent, rather than from reacting to illness events.
A.M. Garner is a writer who notices the whispers that conceal hunger in her town, Florence, Alabama. She shows how the town lies, metaphorically, “Halfway Between Equality and Richville.” This was the literal location of her grandfather’s garden, where he enjoyed giving away fresh vegetables to anyone who asked. Why? This was his secret, and it took her a long time to work it out. What she found is offered like a grace note from a family story, but it also clarifies explosive events on the national stage today.
Dr. Jeff Kane’s article, “Overlooked in the Abortion Issue,” brings startling reports from his practice. Similar to Garner’s perspective on hunger, Kane shows how the well-being of those who are pregnant depends upon competition between rich and poor.