Concepts and Practice of Humanitarian Medicine

  • S. William A. Gunn
  • Michele Masellis

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-XIX
  2. The Fundamentals: Human Rights and Health

  3. Humanitarian Medicine

  4. International, UN and WHO Cooperation

  5. Disasters and Conflicts

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 151-151
    2. Boutros Boutros-Ghali
      Pages 153-155
    3. Jean Marie Fonrouge, S. W. A. Gunn
      Pages 157-161
    4. S.W.A. Gunn
      Pages 175-176
    5. Sir Joseph Rotblat
      Pages 177-184
  6. Science, Research and Perspectives

  7. Society, Health and Equity

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 253-253
    2. Xavier Emmanuelli
      Pages 261-266
    3. Jong-Wook Lee
      Pages 299-301
    4. S. William A. Gunn, Michele Masellis
      Pages 303-308
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 309-324

About this book


Concepts and Practice of Humanitarian Medicine

Edited by S. William A. Gunn and Michele Masellis, International Association for Humanitarian Medicine, Switzerland


As major events like war, epidemics, and climate change continue to push global health issues to the fore, the international medical community is called upon more than ever to address the needs of the most vulnerable. Concepts and Practice of Humanitarian Medicine brings public health and human rights concerns together, uniting medical, scientific, sociopolitical, and historical perspectives to reaffirm this vision. Forty-one essays from 33 international contributors set out the principles of humanitarian medicine, beginning with the concept of health as a human right, and examining topics such as quality of life, torture, and nuclear conflict. The book draws on important treaties and conventions throughout the history of the United Nations and the World Health Organization, and pays tribute to the efforts of individuals and organizations working to correct health inequities worldwide.

A sampling of the topics:

  • The potential of humanitarian medicine in torture prevention and intervention.
  • The varied roles of international and nongovernmental agencies in humanitarian medicine.
  • Critical issues specific to women, children, migrants, refugees, and the poor.
  • Health effects in an increasingly nuclear world.
  • Applications of humanitarian medicine in specialized areas such as heart surgery and trauma.

Already acclaimed when first published as the pioneering book, Humanitarian Medicine, this new edition includes 14 additional thought-provoking chapters. The contributors are all major world figures in health and human rights, including Nobel Laureates Kofi Annan and Sir Joseph Rotblat. For those committed to the new health frontiers around the world—particularly researchers, professionals, social scientists, and policymakers in public health, global health, and human rights—Concepts and Practice of Humanitarian Medicine is both informative and empowering reading.


Reviews of the first edition:

"Challenging… Providing much food for thought. The prestigious authors add to the uniqueness of the publication."

–WHO, Health Action in Crises


"A galaxy of authors that includes three Nobel Laureates, two Secretaries-General of the United Nations, and two Directors-General of the World Health Organization promises a book of the highest interest. The result fully justifies the promise."

Journal of Humanitarian Medicine


"A remarkable array of chapters of prime importance, and a complete view of the technical, philosophical, ethical, and humanist issues to inspire reflection."

–Prof. Baron Michel Lechat, Centre de Rechèrches en Epidémiologie des Désastres, Belgium


Global Health Human Rights International Public Health NGOs Public Health United Nations World Health Organization developing countries disaster medicine humanitarian organizations prevention quality of life refugees third world

Editors and affiliations

  • S. William A. Gunn
    • 1
  • Michele Masellis
    • 2
  1. 1.International Association for Humanitarian MedicineBogis-BosseySwitzerland
  2. 2.Mediterranean Council for Burns and Fire DisastersPalermoItaly

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008
  • Publisher Name Springer, New York, NY
  • eBook Packages Medicine
  • Print ISBN 978-0-387-72263-4
  • Online ISBN 978-0-387-72264-1
  • Buy this book on publisher's site