211898 War and peace literature: Reflecting on the consequences of war and militarism using fiction and non-fiction

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 9:10 AM

Martin Donohoe, MD, FACP , School of Community Health, Portland State University, Lake Oswego, OR
In light of the two hundred and fifty wars that occurred over the course of the Twentieth Century, the increasing percentage of casualties among non-combatants, the wars with Iraq and Afghanistan, and the potentially unending “war on terrorism,” the public health community has paid increasing attention to educating practitioners and students about the health consequences of war and militarism. Lectures and courses are being devoted to the consequences of large-scale conflict, which include deaths, injuries, psychological morbidity, famine, environmental degradation, poverty, and the collapse of health care delivery systems. Non-medical literature, long recognized for its contributions to health care education, offers health care professionals and students the opportunity to vicariously experience the sequelae of conflict and to reflect upon the horrors of war and the benefits of peace. This presentation will discuss fiction and non-fiction that address eloquently and evocatively the consequences of war and the ethical dilemmas consequent to the delivery of health care under conflict situations. An annotated bibliography of readings will be provided to those interested in developing curricula or merely sharing moving poems and short prose with students and colleagues. Brief excerpts from the works of Mark Twain, Primo Levi, Wilfred Owen, Sigfrid Sasson, Elie Weisel, and others will be read aloud, with time for audience commentary.

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the utility of literature in teaching health professions students about the health and social consequences of war and militarism. List the major themes of literary works relevant to war and peace studies. Describe a few major works of fiction and non-fiction relevant to the study of war, peace, and non-violence. Construct, using the resources shared with the group, short literary syllabi for teaching public health professionals and health professions students about the health consequences of war and the benefits to humanity of pacifism and non-violence. Utilize the resources shared to illustrate their own lectures with photos and quotes relevant to war and peace, in order to produce more engaging teaching modules.

Keywords: Curricula, Culture

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Martin Donohoe is Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health at Portland State University and a hospitalist at Kaiser Permanente Sunnyside Hospital. He serves on the Board of Advisors of Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) and is Chief Scientific Advisor to Oregon PSR’s Campaign for Safe Foods. He received his BS and MD from UCLA, completed internship and residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital / Harvard Medical School, and was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at Stanford University. His career has included clinical practice in academic medical centers, community hospitals, and clinics for homeless and un/underinsured patients. Martin has taught courses in medical humanities, social justice ethics, women’s health, and the history of medicine at UCLA, UCSF, Stanford, OHSU, Clark College, and Portland State. He has published articles and frequently lectures on public health and social justice, activism, and the medical humanities.Articles, slide shows, and other documents are available at http://www.publichealthandsocialjustice.org
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.