"Constructing" Hepatitis C in Philadelphia
This research explores how the CDC Hepatitis Epidemiology Investigation Team at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) constructs Hepatitis C (HCV) in the public and medical discourse through their monitoring and education activities. Data in the form of field notes and ethnographic observation was collected during 16 months of participant observations at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. This research provides evidence that the team’s actions give voice to a silent epidemic by being responsible for the construction of the conversations happening around HCV in Philadelphia. Their actions in the domains of risk factors, support systems, public health and prevention, stigmatized behaviors and safe practices, bodily proof and silent epidemics, health insurance, and medical hierarchy will ultimately determine the future climate of hepatitis in Philadelphia. This research can serve as insight into the functioning of public health teams and how more positive and proactive conversations surrounding diseases can be instigated.