Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

To Care for Our Own: Public Health and Medical Care in the Time of Revolution

Thursday, October 16, 2014

2 p.m.

Joukowsky Forum

Watch webcast

Jennifer J. Carroll, University of Washington

Since Ukraine claimed its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the Ukrainian health care system has continued to operate as a centralized, nationally controlled, hierarchically structured entity. In November 2013, massive public protests broke out in the capital city of Kyiv in response to government corruption and police violence. As government violence escalated and the medical needs of injured protestors grew rapidly, it became clear that, when the state is your foe, the state-run health care system may be as well. This talk details the conflicts, physical and political, that arose between protesters and the state-run health care system and the parallel, ad hoc medical structures, shaped by locally salient narratives of nationalism, social obligation, and professional duty, that emerged to replace them.

Discussants: Mariya (Mika) Bachmaha, Brown University, and Ivan Demianets, University of Southern California and Initiative E+, Ukraine.

Moderated by Michael Kennedy, Professor of Sociology and International Studies, Brown University.

Jennifer J. Carroll is a medical anthropologist at the University of Washington, where she is completing dual degrees in social anthropology and epidemiology. Her research investigates the epistemologies and implementation of international development and global health projects in Eastern Europe. Her most recent project documented patient perspectives in Ukraine's institutionalized drug treatment programs, exploring what happens when standardized, evidence-based treatment protocols collide with a medical culture that equates the statistical and the political, that renders clinicians and patients suspicious of each other. Jennifer participated in and heavily documented the Maidan revolution, which gripped Ukraine's capital city of Kyiv from fall 2013 to early spring 2014. She will be speaking from these first-hand experiences.

Mariya (Mika) Bachmaha is a first year student in the Masters of Public Health program at Brown University. Bachmaha is also a first Ukrainian to attend Brown’s MPH program. She comes to Brown after managing research projects in TB and HIV in Ukraine and sees her future in healthcare governance back at home. She was an active participant of the Maidan revolution in Kyiv last winter and has been involved in the volunteer efforts to provide health care and rehabilitation support to the victims of police brutality during the Maidan events.

Ivan Demianets is a Ph.D. student in Chemistry, University of Southern California and a Board Member, Initiative E+ Ukraine. Ivan began taking part in demonstrations in Kyiv in late November 2014 while a university student. He participated in the formation of the "Safe Transportation" organization (Bezpechne Transportuvanniya), which helped injured protesters get medical treatment beyond the reach of the authorities. Ivan is currently a board member of Initiative E+, providing rehabilitation and social services for those injured during the protests on Maidan and throughout Ukraine. He recently moved to Los Angeles to pursue a doctorate in chemistry.

Michael D. Kennedy (@Prof_Kennedy) is professor of sociology and international studies at Brown University. Throughout his career, Kennedy has addressed East European social movements, national identifications, and systemic change. His forthcoming book, Globalizing Knowledge: Intellectuals, Universities, and Publics in Transformation (Stanford University Press), explores energy relations among Ukraine, Russia, and Europe as well as the cultural politics of Euromaidan itself.