Jonathan M. Metzl
Speaker Jonathan M. Metzl

What happens to the soul of a nation—and the meanings of safety and community—when we normalize mass shootings?

JMM speaker

Psychiatrist and professor, Dr. Jonathan Metzl is a widely sought after speaker on topics ranging from race, racism, and mental health to “structural competency” and medical education, to health in the U.S. South, to the politics of racial resentment in America. In his genre-shifting book Dying of Whiteness, which won the 2020 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award and many other honors, he changed how we understand what it means to be white in an age where the politics of racial resentment are higher than ever before. A regular commentator for major media outlets like ABC News and MSNBC, Metzl is also the Director of Vanderbilt’s Department of Medicine, Health, and Society, and author of several acclaimed books that challenge the ways we think about illness and health—including Dying of Whiteness, The Protest Psychosis, Prozac on the Couch, and Against Health.

The former Guggenheim fellow’s recent book, Dying of Whiteness, is filled with interviews with real, everyday Americans, and demonstrates the need for cooperation and diversity in a divided country. The book makes the case that many Americans vote against their own interests out of fear or ignorance, and this leads them to have worse health outcomes and quality of life. Public Books says that “Metzl’s shocking conclusions keep ringing in your head long after you put his book down.” Alondra Nelson of Columbia University and the Social Science Research Council calls his writing “pathbreaking, provocative, empathetic, and poignant.”

Metzl is the Frederick B. Rentschler II Professor of Sociology and Psychiatry, and the director of the Department of Medicine, Health, and Society at Vanderbilt University. He is the winner of the 2020 APA Benjamin Rush Award for Scholarship, and has written extensively for the New York Times, Washington Post, VICE, Politico, and other major publications about the most urgent hot-button issues facing America and the world. He is a frequent media commentator on issues of public health and gun violence who has appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, C-SPAN, CNN, AM Joy, PBS’s Amanpour & Co., HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, and many more.

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