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Our Top 5 Global Health Reads for the New Year

Updated: Sep 2

Students for Global Health UCL wishes all of you a Happy New Year!


As we kick off 2019, our committee members and society members have selected a list of our favourite reads related to Global Health. There’s nothing quite like reading a full-fledged book: in a time when social media polarises our opinions, books are even more key to enriching and nuancing our learning.

To complement your interest in Global Health here are our top five picks:


1. THE DIVIDE (2018) by Jason Hickel

In this enlightening account, Hickel explores the development of and solutions to global poverty. He covers the contextual, historical perspective that provides insight as to why and how a significant gap emerged between the global North and global South countries. It is a must-read for anyone interested in structural inequalities and challenging economic theories.

Also keep posted as Dr. Jason Hickel will be coming to give us a talk on 22 January 2019!


2. FACTFULNESS (2018) by Hans Rosling

The late Hans Rosling was a Professor of International Health at the Karolinska Institute, and his book tackles several important issues surrounding how global development is misperceived by most people. It provides an optimistic view that will change the way you see the world.


Listen to his engaging TED Talk here: https://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_shows_the_best_stats_you_ve_ever_seen/up-next


3. THE HEALTH GAP (2015) Michael Marmot

Michael Marmot is a Professor of Epidemiology at UCL, and he usually delivers an exceptionally engaging and eye-opening lecture to first-year medical students during their very first term at university. His book provides an evidence-based account of health and social inequity, sprinkled with engaging anecdotal experiences that bring the narrative to life.


4. EPIC MEASURES (2015) Jeremy N Smith

Epic Measures tells the story of medical doctor and economist Christopher Murray, who began the Global Burden of Disease studies to gain a truer understanding of how we live and how we die. GBD is one of the most important health projects the GH community has seen in recent years and with the WHO having signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) in 2018, GBD will have an even stronger presence in the GH agenda.


Check out the details of how this collaboration will be important: http://www.euro.who.int/en/data-and-evidence/news/news/2018/7/new-memorandum-of-understanding-between-who-and-ihme-brings-better-data-and-evidence-for-more-informed-decision-making-for-health


5. THE CONSTANT GARDENER (2001) John Le Carré

For our fiction-loving members, we have decided to include a novel. Though an entirely fictional book regarding an international conspiracy, its themes touch upon problems that still exist in the world today. The story surrounds the ethical aspects of carrying out a trial of an innovative anti-TB drug in a third world country, together with the wider social issues concerning Africa and the corruption of the pharmaceutical industry. An important statistic: TB caused 1.6m deaths and 10.4m new cases emerged in 2016 (WHO, 2017).


Hope you enjoy these, comment on the post if you have any thoughts! Any suggestions for 2019 also welcome!

Special thanks to committee members Barbara Citarella and Kai-Yuan Cheng for contributing to suggestions and descriptions.

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