Comrades in HealthEdited by Anne-Emanuelle Birn, Theodore M. Brown | 2013
Published by Rutgers University Press
In Comrades in Health, Anne-Emanuelle Birn and Theodore M. Brown bring together a group of professionals and activists whose lives have been dedicated to international health. By presenting a combination of historical accounts and first-hand reflections, this collection aims to draw attention to the longstanding activities of progressive US health professionals and the lessons they brought home. Their involvement is presented against the background of foreign and domestic policy, social movements, and global politics.
“...offer medical assistance not only for its own sake, but to support a political cause.”— Comrades in Health
Politically engaged and socially committed US health professionals have always worked in solidarity with movements struggling for social justice, equity, and the right to health. Comrades in Health brings together an impressive array of health activists, including international public health heroes Jack Geiger, Victor Sidel, and Ruth Sidel; health workers active in the Black liberation struggles in the US and southern Africa; and activists in the People's Health Movement and Doctors for Global Health who worked with revolutionary movements in Central America.
Their vivid, first-person accounts and thoughtful reflections on struggles inside and outside the US are placed in the historical context of health internationalism from the Spanish Civil War to the present. These provocative and challenging testimonies provide a window into the activities and motivations of US health activists around the globe.
Praise for Comrades in Health"Everybody who cares about health and social justice, internationally and in the US, should read this book!"
— Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now! and 2008 winner Right Livelihood Award
“The most haunting lesson in this fine book stems from its call for an ethic of social consciousness in health care work. In this view, the struggle of justice for all is integral to the improvement of individual health outcomes, and it is as fraught with uncertainty and unintended consequences as is the treatment of individual illness. Birn, Brown and their colleagues update an old social medicine lesson that makes this struggle, with its risks, penuries and triumphs, a core professional duty instead of merely a morally praiseworthy individual pursuit."
— Global Public Health
"[A] captivating journey through the political, economic, and social turmoil that embroiled global health care during the 20th century."
— Nursing History Review
"Perhaps the most interesting lesson in Comrades in Health is in showing how the very term socialised medicine came to be such an imagined existential threat to the US body politic."