Hesperian’s Social Justice Summer Reading List!


It’s finally summer! After everything that has happened over the past year and a half, many of us are eager to take time off and spend some quality time relaxing. Whether you travel or stay local, Hesperian has plenty of books that are excellent companions to help you expand your horizons.

If surviving the COVID-19 pandemic has made you question the US healthcare system, The Good Doctors is a great, uplifting book choice! An insightful account of the Medical Committee for Human Rights (MCHR), it tells the story of a group of 100 nurses, doctors and social workers formed to support civil rights activists during Mississippi’s Freedom Summer. This inspiring read describes an early experience of asserting that Black Lives Matter and health is a human right!

Recruiting the Heart, Training the Brain tells the story of Latino Health Access, a community-based organization in Santa Ana, California, and how their promotores have tackled health issues in the community through peer-to-peer outreach and education. More than just a guide to health organizing, this book demonstrates how a group of activists can build a dynamic force for health in their community. (You may have read about how Latino Health Access organized to vaccinate their community in this e-blast).

Similarly, Revolutionary Doctors is a great read to show how other healthcare models are possible. This bird’s-eye look at Venezuela’s National Program of Integral Community Medicine, a model where doctor-teachers move into the rural and poor urban areas to train and recruit doctors among peasants and workers, delves into the successes and challenges the program has faced.

As we experience a summer even hotter than the last, Changing Planet, Changing Health delves into how climate change is affecting malaria, Lyme disease, asthma and other health threats, and proposes solutions for a healthy planet and economy. This is an excellent choice for any Gen-Z’er with eco-anxiety.

And if you are wondering whether to change your major to global public health when you finally! return to in-person classes in the fall, check out the personal stories of global health heroes and heroines in Comrades in Health and The Practice of International Health. The real-life testimonies gathered from all the world’s continents will transform your idea of what to do with your life.