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Global Health Summer Reading List

, by Rebecca Erickson, M.P.H.

Fishing boat on the coast of west Africa.

Summertime can bring long weekends, a relaxed pace, and time to reflect and enrich our minds outside the office. Throughout the summer, NCI Center for Global Health staff keep busy with our work in global cancer research, research training, and cancer control. However, we also love a good summer read! Check out some of our recommendations for great global health books to add to your summer, (or anytime) reading list.

This Narrow Space:  A Pediatric Oncologist, His Jewish, Muslim, and Christian Patients, and a Hospital in Jerusalem- Elisha Waldman

A Jewish-American doctor becomes an attending physician at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center and chronicles the bureaucratic and cultural challenges he faces while treating Israeli and Palestinian children with cancer.

Recommended by Elise Garton, M.Sc.

“I feel like so many books set in Palestine simplify the conflict and end up with a heartwarming, happy message about the possibilities of unification. This book doesn’t do that; it embraces the ambiguities and challenges present in the setting.”

My Own Country:  A Doctor’s Story- Abraham Verghese

An Indian immigrant infectious disease doctor taking care of HIV-infected patients in rural Tennessee in the mid-1980s.

Recommended by Satish Gopal, M.D., M.P.H. 

“A cousin gave me this book when I was in college and it really reinforced my interest in pursuing medicine as a career, for which there was not tremendous precedent in my family of mostly engineers. It raises so many issues that are still so central to our national discourse including stigma related to communicable diseases, health equity, and immigrants as part of the American fabric. It’s particularly meaningful to me how the memoir places human interaction and the doctor-patient relationship at the center of these larger issues, perhaps even as a partial solution to them.”

Aid on the Edge of Chaos:  Rethinking International Cooperation in a Complex World- Ben Ramalingam 

The complex nature of humanitarian aid against real development needs in health as well as other domains. 

Recommended by Patti Gravitt Ph.D., M.S.

“This book is a beautiful example of how sometimes we need to rethink our paradigms to meet our objectives. So much food for thought that could be applied to global health. It encourages us to think and act differently.” 

Global Dexterity: How to Adapt Your Behavior Across Cultures without Losing Yourself in the Process- Andy Molinsky

Teaching and tips to adapt your behavior to conform to new cultural contexts while not losing your authenticity. The goal is to successfully manage and communicate with people from other cultures while collaborating in teams.

Recommended by Marianne Henderson, M.S., C.P.C.

“Awareness and adaptation for cultural influences/needs can make or break a project’s success. These are the keys to being successful in relating with people from other cultures while collaborating to determine the best ways to implement health behavior or best practices for clinical research in global settings.”

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