Public Health and Human Rights: Evidence-Based Approaches

Public Health and Human Rights: Evidence-Based Approaches

by Chris Beyrer
     
 

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Human rights violations are underlying causes of adverse health outcomes for vulnerable people and populations around the world. Public Health and Human Rights provides critical, evidence-based assessments and tools with which to investigate the role of rights abrogation in the health of populations—from repressive laws to social discord, gender-based

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Overview

Human rights violations are underlying causes of adverse health outcomes for vulnerable people and populations around the world. Public Health and Human Rights provides critical, evidence-based assessments and tools with which to investigate the role of rights abrogation in the health of populations—from repressive laws to social discord, gender-based violence, human trafficking, and violations in conflict.

Divided into three sections, this provocative work investigates how the complex interactions between rights and health can best be studied, analyzed, and remedied; how the efforts of human rights advocates affect health outcomes; and how modern public health procedures can assist in documenting, understanding, and preventing human rights violations. Part I illuminates the powerful relationship between rights work and public health practice in Thailand, Russia, Burma, and China and in U.S. prisons. Part II explores new methodologies and new uses of previous practices for rights-based public health research. Part III confronts current policy approaches—such as Brazil's integration of rights, HIV/AIDS programming, and the contradictory and confounding global policies on illicit drugs—and offers recommendations for future programs and strategies.

Editorial Reviews

JAMA - Daniel M. Fox

The strength of the book is the authors' and editors' insistence on 'evidence-based approaches' to abuse and harm. They explain why acquiring reliable evidence about the effects on health of abuses of human rights requires changing principles and methods that researchers in industrial countries take for granted.

AIDS Reader - William M. Valenti

The message of this book is clear... A rights-based analysis of our public health policies is a requirement of the times in which we live.

Canadian Journal of Public Health - Catherine G. Chalin

A good resource for students. It is a quick and interesting read.

European Journal of Public Health - Steven S. Coughlin

This engaging and important book is likely to interest a broad range of readers.

Development in Practice - Nana K. Poku

A good addition to the burgeoning literature on global health, and I would recommend it strongly to practitioners.

Critical Public Health - Kate van Dooren

The individual case studies are fascinating, and provide insight into the challenges of working in oppressive and dangerous environments.

Choice

Many of the case studies are powerful and hopeful.

Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease

Valuable and enlightening... Mental health specialists will find here much to reflect about.

Development in Practice
A good addition to the burgeoning literature on global health, and I would recommend it strongly to practitioners.

— Nana K. Poku

European Journal of Public Health
This engaging and important book is likely to interest a broad range of readers.

— Steven S. Coughlin

Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved

Well researched and timely, and cites well-documented evidence.

Critical Public Health
The individual case studies are fascinating, and provide insight into the challenges of working in oppressive and dangerous environments.

— Kate van Dooren

AIDS Reader
The message of this book is clear... A rights-based analysis of our public health policies is a requirement of the times in which we live.

— William M. Valenti

JAMA
The strength of the book is the authors' and editors' insistence on 'evidence-based approaches' to abuse and harm. They explain why acquiring reliable evidence about the effects on health of abuses of human rights requires changing principles and methods that researchers in industrial countries take for granted.

— Daniel M. Fox, PhD

Canadian Journal of Public Health
A good resource for students. It is a quick and interesting read.

— Catherine G. Chalin

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Maryn Elizabeth Torner, BA, MPH (University of Iowa College of Public Health)
Description: This book explores the connections between global public health initiatives and human rights violations. It provides a variety of case study examples, methods to approach unique situations, and policy recommendations.
Purpose: The authors argue that it is plausible to adapt standard population-based public health methods learned from textbooks for unique public health initiatives for the purpose of not only combating disease, but also exposing and rectifying human rights violations. Unstable societies place vulnerable populations at greater risk for disparity and human rights violations. The book stresses the importance of recognizing local needs and available resources of the community for the purpose of empowering them for change, instead of imposing the external value structures of foreign public health workers.
Audience: Students and practitioners are the intended audience, according to the author. I would add public health workers (more specifically epidemiologists) as well as medical anthropologists. The editors were wise to choose a variety of authors for the chapters. They provide a diverse array of experience and knowledge to help develop a more comprehensive picture of global public health approaches in settings where human rights violations are taking place.
Features: The book depicts well the importance of creating mobilization within communities to empower them and not have researchers or practitioners imposing their values on the population. The second chapter on the internally displaced peoples of Burma is exceptionally well written and emphasizes the need for a holistic health approach instead of one that focuses just on curative paradigms. It stresses the importance of using local ethnic leaders who are familiar with local values and beliefs and are trusted within the community. Normally, evidence-based epidemiological books focus specifically on disease causation and disrupting the triangle between vector, host, and environment. This book takes a necessary step back and looks at the macrostructure of how social, political, economic, and cultural values impact an individual's health and how perceptions/actions toward disease prevention and health promotion stem from this larger picture. The only criticism of this book involves a lack of fluidity between the chapters. Although they all fit within the subcategories of case studies, methods, and policies, some chapters are exceptionally well done, while others appear to lack information.
Assessment: The book is well constructed and provides insights into how to approach public health programs in unique situations where human rights violations constrain public health workers' ability to assist populations at risk. It stresses the importance of looking not just at disease causation, but also at the structural factors that play into the situation. As the book stresses, it is not about statistics but about people's lives. It is important for public health workers to document human rights violations they witness in order to provide a voice to victims and to help bring attention to inequities and atrocities. In the field of public health, our ethics stress that we must value justice, fairness, and beneficence. The authors argue that these are the same values promoted in human rights work, so initiatives should address both. The examples in this book provide a set of tools to consider when we find ourselves in unique situations.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801886478
Publisher:
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date:
09/28/2007
Series:
Director's Circle Book Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
512
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.19(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Hilarie Cranmer

A necessary and timely contribution for the public health and for the human rights audience. It can be the 'bible' of approaching the most vulnerable of our world's population, including those affected by HIV/AIDS, genocide, intravenous drug use, trafficking, and gender-specific abuse.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

This book is a real contribution for those working to bring health and dignity to communities in need. We have long understood that the violation of the human rights of the poor and marginalized had grave implications for their health and well-being. Now we have a tool kit for investigating those relationships and, more importantly, for doing something about them to improve both human health and human rights.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, 1984 Nobel Peace Laureate

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

This book is a real contribution for those working to bring health and dignity to communities in need. We have long understood that the violation of the human rights of the poor and marginalized had grave implications for their health and well-being. Now we have a tool kit for investigating those relationships and, more importantly, for doing something about them to improve both human health and human rights.

Meet the Author

Chris Beyrer, M.D., M.P.H., is a professor of epidemiology and international health, director of the Center for Public Health and Human Rights, and associate director of the Center for Global Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. H. F. Pizer is the cofounder and principal of Health Care Strategies, Inc., and author, coauthor, or editor of thirteen medical books.

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