Broke in america

NACCHO Book Club: Broke in America: Seeing, Understanding, and Ending US Poverty

Jun 24, 2021 | Julia Mandeville

“Broke in America: Seeing, Understanding and Ending US Poverty”, critically examines public policies and how they have contributed to the inequitable access to and distribution of resources that address the most basic of human needs. In three sections, 15 chapters and almost 300 pages, Joanne Samuel Goldblum and Collen Shaddox chronicle how multidimensional poverty throughout the United States truly is. In Parts I and II, they examine and share experiences of implicit and explicit stigma, stories of oppression in its many forms, as well as the impact of seemingly innocuous policies and how these tend to intersect ( e.g. structural racism and housing policies)—creating or reinforcing barriers which encumber access to much needed resources and opportunities for progress.

For those of us working in or interested in public health and public health policies, this book reinforces the impact of social determinants of health, as we see the direct impact of living conditions, specifically how lack of access to resources such as power, transportation, and housing, actively contribute to poor health related outcomes of those living in poverty. Thus, throughout the text and supported by research, the authors systematically outline the importance of challenging the current narratives about poverty and it being due to “lack of ambition or character” (Samuel Goldblum and Shaddox, 2021).

Understanding that poverty should be attributed to lack of resources and access to them is the key argument of the text. One is forced to reevaluate past beliefs about poverty when you are invited to read about the experiences of those living it. It becomes difficult to ignore pervasive structural barriers which prevent people from effectively accessing clean water, reliable transportation, hygiene supplies, food, and other resources many may take for granted. In fact, one needs only to reflect on the current public health emergency of the COVID-19 pandemic to recall how inequitable access to and distribution of resources, not only exacerbated the effects for those living in poverty, but also brought many of these veiled issues to the forefront.

It was important that, while extensively describing how policies and actions have significantly contributed to the impoverishment millions of Americans experienced, the authors sought to encourage readers to be hopeful about a future free from poverty. In Part III, they take the time to describe macro policies and realistic approaches that have been successfully implemented elsewhere and can potentially contribute to effectively tackling poverty and the associated adverse effects in the USA. At the end, a comprehensive and adaptable framework which can be used by individuals and communities to address unfair and inequitable policies and actions is provided.

In summary, while “Broke in America” pulls no punches about the reality and extent of poverty in the US, and the litany of reasons why it exists, it is critical to remember-there are tangible solutions available for persons to consider. Solutions that support transformational thinking in ensuring resource availability, making them accessible to break the cycle of being broke in America.

Bibliography

  • Goldblum, J. S., & Shaddox, C. (2021). Broke in America: Seeing, Understanding, and Ending US Poverty. Dallas, Texas: BenBella Books, Inc.

About Julia Mandeville

Program Analyst, Injury & Violence Prevention

More posts by Julia Mandeville

Related Posts

Sexual health clinic sign
  • Community Engagement

How Do LHDs work with Retail Health Clinics and...

NACCHO is interested in learning how local health departments may be working...

Sep 24, 2021 | Jas Florentino

How Do LHDs work with Retail Health Clinics and...

  • Webinar

Register for the Billing & 340B for Health Department...

This webinar will share what we learned about the local health department’s use...

Sep 24, 2021 | Jas Florentino

Register for the Billing & 340B for Health Department...

TB Collaboration Case Study
  • Infectious Disease
  • Tuberculosis

New NACCHO Case Study Series Highlights LHD and Health...

NACCHO developed a series of three Case Studies to share insights into how how...

Sep 22, 2021 | Erin Laird

New NACCHO Case Study Series Highlights LHD and Health...

NACCHO color pms321
  • Funding Opportunity
  • Injury and Violence Prevention
  • Opioid Overdose Epidemic

Request for Applications: Implementing Overdose...

In this funding opportunity, NACCHO will award up to ten high-burden counties...

Sep 17, 2021 | Andrea Grenadier

Request for Applications: Implementing Overdose...

9 30 21 webinar web
  • Webinar
  • Immunization
  • Maternal, Child, & Adolescent Health

Panel Discussion: Working Together to Protect Our...

NACCHO President Lisa Macon Harrison, MHP, joins Unity Consortium for a panel...

Sep 16, 2021 | Beth Hess

Panel Discussion: Working Together to Protect Our...

Sept 16th HIV Awareness
  • HIV, STI, & Viral Hepatitis

National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day

CDC has a social media toolkit in recognition of National HIV/AIDS and Aging...

Sep 16, 2021 | Jas Florentino

National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day

HRSA logo

Funding Opportunity for Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Part...

HRSA announced a new opportunity to apply for funding under the Ryan White...

Sep 16, 2021 | Jas Florentino

Funding Opportunity for Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Part...

Health in Justice Action Lab just launched a...

Health in Justice Action Lab developed a toolkit in response to the increasing...

Sep 16, 2021 | Jas Florentino

Health in Justice Action Lab just launched a...

NACCHO logo small version02 square N pms321

NACCHO Mentorship Program Applications Open: NEHA-FDA...

The National Environmental Health Association recently announced their...

Sep 16, 2021 | Jas Florentino

NACCHO Mentorship Program Applications Open: NEHA-FDA...

Back to Top