One of our first readings in all of the global health intensives has been this 1968 speech by Ivan Illich, an Austrian priest who wrote extensively on social disparities. As befits his era, his speech largely excoriates the “do-gooder” approach of North American college students who aimed to volunteer among the Mexican poor for a few weeks to months.
The mentality he decries and the issues he discusses that prevent a person with good intentions from resulting a good outcome for the community they aim to assist are remain extremely pertinent to global health today. I highly recommend it for reading and for discussion!
(hattip to my colleague Dan Palazuelos of Brigham and Women’s for first showing me this piece!)