Concepts and Practice of Humanitarian Medicine / Edition 1

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This book seeks to define the field of humanitarian medicine. It gathers new and previously-published articles and speeches that set out the principles of humanitarian medicine, starting with the idea of health as a human right, and examining topics such as quality of life, torture, and nuclear conflict. The book takes a historical view and its contributors include Nobel laureates Kofi Annan and Joseph Rotblat.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Samuel Dorevitch, MD, MPH (University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health)
Description: This book describes diverse elements of medicine and public health under the category of humanitarian medicine. Ranging from disaster relief efforts to nuclear nonproliferation to providing care to people in poverty, this work highlights activities of the United Nations and World Health Organization in these areas.
Purpose: Although not stated in the preface, the purpose of this book is to showcase the philosophies and activities of the International Association for Humanitarian Medicine (IAHM). It addresses in a patchy and at times superficial way elements of humanitarian medicine, while emphasizing the history and activities of the IAHM. A more worthy objective might have been the promotion of humanitarian thinking and action on the part of medical practitioners.
Audience: Although not stated, the audience would appear to be readers with a specific interest in the evolution of the International Association for Humanitarian Medicine and the promotion of medical efforts by the World Health Organization. The editors and several of the contributors have played prominent leadership roles in the World Health Organization, the United Nations, or the International Association of Humanitarian Medicine.
Features: This book addresses three main topics. First, it defines and provides historical information about the concept of health for all as a human right and the efforts of the World Health Organization to promote this right. Second, it offers perspectives (but not how-to information) about disaster relief work. Third, it briefly presents a diverse array of topics that address various social dimensions of medicine, including infectious diseases in the developing world, chronic diseases and the developed world, nuclear proliferation, and medically vulnerable populations. Many of the chapters are summaries of conference proceedings, including conferences held several years prior the 2008 publication date of this work.
Assessment: While showcasing the activities of a specific organization, the often disjointed elements of the book fail to either inspire or provide practical solutions for critical societal problems. The book contains several insightful essays, but is neither textbook nor history nor philosophical treatise. Readers interested in these topics should consider other sources of information and inspiration.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781441924711
  • Publisher: Springer New York
  • Publication date: 10/29/2010
  • Edition description: Softcover reprint of hardcover 1st ed. 2008
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 324
  • Product dimensions: 0.72 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 6.14 (d)

Meet the Author

S. William A. Gunn is co-editor of Understanding the Global Dimensions of Health (published 2005). He is formerly head of WHO Emergency Relief Operations, and currently President of the IAHM and editor of the Journal of Humanitarian Medicine.

Michele Masellis is a surgeon specializing in burn therapy, reconstructive surgery, and international health. He is Director of the IAHM.

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Table of Contents

The Fundamentals: Human Rights and Health.- The Right to Health.- Health and Human Rights—A Public Health Perspective.- Health for All or Hell for All? The Role of Leadership in Health Equity.- The Declaration of Alma-Ata on Primary Health Care.- Health and Human Rights: In 25 Questions and Answers.- Freedom from Fear for Human Well-being: The Need for Humanitarian Medicine in the Prevention of Torture and the Treatment of its Survivors.- Humanitarian Medicine.- Humanitarian Medicine: A Vision and Action.- Ethical Principles for Everyone in Health Care.- Quality of Life and Medical Practice.- Medical Contributors to Social Progress: A Significant Aspect of Humanitarian Medicine.- Humanitarian Medicine Applied in a Highly Specialized Field: Cardiovascular Surgery.- Humanitarian Medicine for a Developing Country: Outreach to Cuba.- Humanitarian Basic Plastic Surgery.- International, UN and WHO Cooperation.- Find New Unity.- Health and Human Rights in International Legal Instruments.- The United Nations Today: Changes in Policies and Structures—The World Summit and UN Reform.- The Critical News Stories You Never Read.- United Nations Humanitarian Action and the Role of Non-governmental Organizations.- The UN Founding Fathers and Dr Chisholm.- Brock Chisholm—Doctor to the World.- The Language of International Humanitarian Action: A Brief Terminology.- Disasters and Conflicts.- Humanitarian Action in Major Emergencies.- The Humanitarian Postulate in Disaster Management.- Health and Social Issues of Migrants and Refugees.- Man-Conceived Disasters.- The Nuclear Issue and Pugwash.- Quantifiable Effects of Nuclear Conflict on Health and Society.- Avoidable Tragedy Post-Chernobyl—A Critical Analysis.- Science, Research and Perspectives.- The Role of Science to Improve the Quality of Life: Reflections on the Post-Genomic Era.- The Ethics of Research: The Responsibility of the Researcher.- The Cost of Not Doing Health Research.- Reflections on the Past, Present and Future of Medicine.- Scientists, Doctors and the Nuclear Dilemma.- Serving the Global Community Through eHealth: The Role of Academia.- Society, Health and Equity.- The Humanization of Medicine—A Religious Viewpoint.- Urban Social Exclusion—The Samusocial Response.- Social and Medical Progress Through Patient Education in Chronic Diseases.- An Equitable Society Protects the Health of its Weakest Members: Women and Children.- The Humanitarian Force of the UN Millennium Development Goals.- Science and the Health of the Poor.- Poverty and Disease—Health and Prosperity.

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