11 Global Health Reads to Pick Up This Week (As Recommended by Pathfinder Staff)

Other staff favorites include Half the Sky by Nick Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, Every Child A Wanted Child by Doone William and Greer Williams, and The Means of Reproduction by Michelle Goldberg.

It’s officially spring and World Health Day is on its way (April 7th)! I don’t know about you, but I often enjoy the weather with book in hand. Here are eleven great global health reads as recommended by Pathfinder staff. 

1. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures by Anne Fadiman

“I think this is the best global health book ever. It’s very approachable and is what led me to study Medical Anthropology. It really shows how different cultures have very different ways of understanding the human body, human health, and family wellness. Very eye opening.”
-Alden Nouga, Senior Technical Advisor for HIV and AIDS

“This book really articulates why cross-cultural issues are incredibly important when working in health.”
-Sarah Burns, Knowledge Management Advisor

2. Beauty Without Breast by Felicia Knaul

“The book is based on the story of the author on her fight against breast cancer. In medicine, we usually say the best book is the patient. The author shares several personal experience of living with the problem and how to overcome them, which is the best way to learn about the problem, rather than reading the scientific description in the subject books.”
-Mengistu Asnake, Country Representative for Ethiopia and Chief of Party for the Integrated Family Health Program
3. Where There Is No Doctor by David Werner, Jane Maxwell, and Carol Thuman

“One of the most commonly referred to and used health education books of all time. We have three copies in Pathfinder’s library alone. The greatest thing is that it is such a highly renowned resource and parts are available for free online from Hesperian.”
-Sarah Burns, Knowledge Management Advisor

4. Champion of Choice: The Life and Legacy of Women's Advocate Nafis Sadik by Cathleen Miller

"Champion of Choice is an extraordinary biography of Nafis Sadik, an Indian woman who influenced policy on sexual and reproductive rights. It is a remarkable window to the some of the key moments in the evolution of this area of development."
- Linda Suttenfield, Director of Communications

5. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

“The author tells a balanced story. She did a great job of taking a rather technical subject such as cancer and genomic sequencing and making it a personal story, one that makes people aware of what is going on in the world and hopefully makes them pay a little more attention to science and health.”
-Robert Kim, Program Coordinator

6. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

“Cutting for Stone was an incredibly beautiful and well-written, but tragic story of women who suffer needlessly from fistula and maternal mortality in Ethiopia. It presented harrowing stories of women traveling for miles to receive critical care and was, personally, a wonderful reminder of the reason I chose to work in this field…a reminder that we know how to prevent maternal mortality and we know how to help women recover physically and emotionally from complications following childbirth, if only we direct adequate resources and needed attention to ensure access to reproductive health services for all.”
-Sarah Lance, Program Officer

“This remarkable book brought the tragic consequences of fistula to light and garnered world attention.”
-Linda Suttenfield, Director of Communications

7. AIDS in the World II: Global Dimensions, Social Roots, and Responses by Jonathan Mann and Daniel Tarantola

“This classic should be read by all! It perfectly establishes the concept of vulnerability to HV infection.”
-Carlos Laudari, Senior Technical Advisor for HIV Prevention
8. The Wisdom of Whores: Bureaucrats, Brothels, and the Business of AIDS by Elizabeth Pisani

“It’s a great look at how bureaucracy and politics influenced the early perception of the HIV epidemic, and gives good context for how our understanding of the epidemiology of HIV has evolved. “
-Sarah Mehta, Technical Writer

9. Haiti After the Earthquake by Paul Farmer

“A very interesting read.”
-Ellen Israel, Senior Technical Advisor for Women’s Health and Rights

10. Family Planning: A Global Handbook for Providers by the World Health Organization and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

“(This handbook is) fundamental to understanding family planning in global health international arena.”
-Susan White, Program Director

11. Helping Health Workers Learn by David Werner

“This one changed my life.”
-Stephen Redding, Vice President for Country and Regional Operations

Here at Pathfinder, we love telling stories as much as reading them ourselves. While you’re waiting for the chance to pick up some of these great titles, explore these real and inspiring stories of daring women around the world.

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