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BOOK REVIEWS

          "Magisterial is a word that’s probably much overused in forewords, but it’s an apposite word to describe Awakening Hippocrates. We at last have, in this moving book and in a companion volume, an authoritative overview that allows the reader to understand not only how poverty and inequality shorten lives in a time of medical miracles but also what can be done about it...I know of no other project that has been able to link such sound analysis to the pragmatic advice that all of need as we ask and answer (sometimes without ever learning the lessons of those who've gone before us) the what's-to-be-done question... Awakening Hippocrates… is beautifully written and well documented.” 


    -Paul Farmer, MD, PhD, founder of Partners In Health, and the Presley Professor of Medical Anthropology in the Department of Social Medicine at Harvard University and an attending physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.


 

          "...written with impressive knowledge and with the compassion of a medical doctor who has worked in the poorest countries of the world and whose life has been marked by the miseries he has come across. This book is a moving and pressing appeal to all people of good will." 

    

    -Rhena Schweitzer Miller, former director of the Schweitzer-Bresslau Hospital in Lambarene, Gabon, and daughter of Albert Schweitzer, MD​

 

          “Edward O’Neil, Jr. has packed a lifetime of experience, reflection, and insight into these works on global health. Anyone who wants to deepen their understanding of poverty and health in the world or who is contemplating service in global health will find in these books both inspiration and highly practical guidance. Dr. O’Neil celebrates the achievements and dedication of heroes in global health, and his own life’s work serves as a model for those who will come after." 

    -Harvey Fineberg, MD, President, Institute of Medicine; former Provost of Harvard University; former Dean of the Harvard School of Public Health, and Consultant to the World Health Organization

 

​          "These two books (Awakening Hippocrates and A Practical Guide to Global Health Service) should comprise an important tool in what I hope will be a genuine global movement both to understand and to remedy the great disparities in global health that afflict our times."

   

    -Tracy Kidder, Pulitzer-prize winning author of Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World​

 

          "Few books have mastered such a breadth of complex issues and done so in such clear and readily understandable prose. The book should appeal to anyone interested in global volunteerism, non-profit and governmental efforts in international medicine, and the underlying forces that propagate poverty and ill health... These two books should become essential reading for every medical student and resident in the country, as well as anyone else who cares enough to address directly the health inequalities that plague so much of humanity."   

    -Robert Sparks, MD, Dean Emeritus Tulane University School of Medicine, President Emeritus and Senior Consultant for the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, former Chancellor of the University of Nebraska Medical Center, member Institute of Medicine.

 

          This comprehensive and beautifully written volume is essential reading for anyone who cares about global poverty and health inequality and wants to do something about it. All health professionals should read this book: there may be no clearer mission for the medical profession today. In a strong and compelling voice, Dr O'Neil explores the roots of poverty, and explains the "moral imperative" shared by all health providers to engage directly in alleviating global health inequalities. This book should inspire a revolution within the health profession, in which international health becomes a staple of every medical school. It is a clarion call for action that will ultimately change our world.”


    -Jim Yong Kim, MD, PhD, Chief, Division of Social Medicine and Health Inequalities, Brigham and Women's Hospital at Harvard Medical School

 

          "This timely book should be embraced by anyone entering the international service arena with the goal of improving the health of populations living in the most deprived conditions in resource-constrained settings...We believe that this inspiration book achieves its main goal, to revisit the basic ethical and moral principles stated in the Hippocratic Oath in an era of persistent and devastating health inequalities and to awaken the medical community's moral attention to the world's most vulnerable populations." 

   

    - JAMA, August 2, 2006 - Vol 296, No. 5

 

          “The plethora of recent studies focused on global poverty have offered excellent analyses but the scale of international poverty and its relations to global health demand a finer study—specifically, a narrative so prolific and potent that it not only describes the injustices wrought by poverty but dares to explain those injustices with eloquence and grace. Awakening Hippocrates is just that work, insofar as it abounds with convincing evidence that forces the reader to genuinely contemplate the many constructive solutions he promulgates as a means of eliminating the many pestilences—health and otherwise—brought on by social injustices. Ultimately, Awakening Hippocrates is mandatory reading for interested physicians to use should they decide to take up the reins and fight poverty where wealthy nations have failed for so long.” 

   

    – Journal of the National Medical Association, March 2007- Vol 99, No 3

          “O’Neil reviews the global infrastructure through which poverty creates disease and through which inadequately funded, imperfectly organized agencies struggle to improve the health of the world’s poor. The author identifies the major international health organizations and effectively reviews the controversy over the policies of the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, and the World Bank. His discussion of the pros and cons of the private health charities referred to as nongovernmental organizations is a gem that should be read by those contemplating volunteering for their first work overseas. His criticism of the arrogance of those groups that put evangelizing ahead of health care is on target, as is his recognition of the urgent need to research the efficacy of groups that work to create sustainable health care programs.” 

    -New England Journal of Medicine, October 19, 2006-Vol 355, No 16

 

          “Taken together, the two volumes form a basic library for anyone contemplating health work in the developing world. O’Neil brings to the field an extraordinary combination of pragmatism and vision. Within the two volumes, the reader will find a call to his or her humanitarian instincts, keen historical analysis, thoughtful political commentary, and the most rudimentary and practical information about how to take care of yourself on the road. As more American health workers go abroad to take on new killers such as HIV/ AIDS and old ones such as malaria, O’Neil’s books will provide practical and moral support for them.” 

 

    -Health Affairs, (Fitzhugh Mullan, MD, MPH) July/ August 2007 Vol 26, No 4

 

          "The time is right for these two wonderful books by Edward O'Neil, Jr, MD. Recent years have witnessed the expansion of tools, vaccines, drugs and diagnostic abilities in global health as well as new resources, interest and political support. These books are written for the legion of people who would like to respond in using these new opportunities to actually change the health of people around the world. 

          O'Neil provides in the first book, AWAKENING HIPPOCRATES - A Primer on Health, Poverty and Global Service, a thoughtful look at the world to provide a rationale for the absolute obscenity of a world where health discrepancies are the logical result of poverty, structural problems and forces that cause disparities to become ever larger. The book is well organized, compelling as well as inspirational. The review of the life of Albert Schweitzer, as an example and hero, contains new information not previously seen even by those who have eagerly devoured everything previously written about him. His correspondence with Helene Bresslau, before their marriage, reveals the doubts and worries that accompanied his decision to work in Africa. 

          The second book, A Practical Guide to Global Health Service provides the help needed for students and practitioners alike to study the many possibilities available and figure out how to pursue short term or long term involvement to meet the many needs for health assistance in other countries. Decades ago, a medical student, Robert Farley (now Kim-Farley) recognized the need for such a guide for students. His summary brought some order into a confusing field. But global health work has never had a well-defined career path and many have been discouraged in finding support, subsequently abandoning their efforts. This book celebrates the many avenues to the work in global health making it easier than ever before to plan a personal journey based on past experiences, interests and skills. As the number of public health students with an interest in global health expands, they will find this one of the most useful books in planning their futures. 

          Rarely has global health been provided with such a needed guide at just the moment when a tipping point has been reached in visualizing the possibility of narrowing the health equity gap in the world. We can be grateful for O’Neil for assembling the material and to the American Medical Association for its publication.

 

    -William Foege, MD, MPH, Emeritus Professor of Global Health at Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Senior Advisor to the Bill and Melinda        Gates Foundation, Former Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, and Former Executive Director of The Carter Center