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Health and Health Care, Geography of

  • By: Sara McLafferty
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

The geography of health and health care explores how and why people's health and access to health care vary from place to place. Health is typically defined as a positive quality that encompasses social, physical, and emotional well-being and not merely the absence of disease. Health care comprises diverse activities—personal, social, and institutional—for maintaining and promoting health. Formal health care is provided by trained professionals in organized settings such as hospitals and clinics. Informal care is provided by family and community members.

The uneven geographies of health and health care have profound implications for individual and societal well-being. These geographies are of particular interest within the field of medical geography and the broader but closely related field of health geography. This entry discusses several key themes ...

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