238801 War or Health? Assessing Public Health Education and Training and the Potential for Social Change

Monday, October 31, 2011: 1:30 PM

Shelley K. White, MPH , Sociology Department, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA
Bernard Lown, MD , Retired, Harvard School of Public Health, Chestnut Hill, MA
Jon Rohde, MD , South Africa, Management Sciences for Health, Chestnut Hill, MA
The U.S. accounts for half of global military spending. Yet despite the economic recession the annual military budget has not diminished though vital services to underserved populations are now being drastically cut. Remarkably, there is little or no debate suggesting reductions in this bloated military expenditure to reduce vast and growing deficits. The U.S is also the major global weapons supplier to the developed world. This traffic of weapons contributes to ongoing wars which promote disease, lead to environmental disruption, and increase existing inequalities which lay a foundation for poor health outcomes globally. In 2009, APHA passed a policy statement describing the intersections of war and health, and outlining the indispensable role public health professionals can and must play in responding to these concerns. However, Schools of Public Health (SPH), responsible for preparing the next generation of practitioners, have not responded to the mounting crisis. A broad content analysis of present curricula and competency guidelines show that current education/training programs do not address the issues of war and militarism and are notably lacking in attention to primary prevention: i.e. the reduction in vast military spending that fuels the epidemic of militarism. We intend to examine a public health curriculum focused on the prevention of war rather than merely responding to its aftermath and propose a number of pedagogical tools and resources for teaching on the impact of military spending and war on health.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related education
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Explain trends in military expenditure, and discuss military spending as a key issue in primary prevention. Describe current trends in public health education and training approaches to teaching on war and health. Identify key resources for teaching political and advocacy approaches to the primary prevention of war.

Keywords: War, Public Health Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have completed research examining the public health education and training approaches to teaching about war and health. I have, more broadly, studies political economy, globalization, social movements and related topics which inform this research project.
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.