Online Program

Medical Solidarity During Conflict and War: Documenting Violations of Medical Neutrality

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 2:58 p.m. - 3:11 p.m.

Michael Gelder, MHA, Michael Gelder and Associates, evanston, IL
I first became active in medical solidarity work as a medical student in 1972, during the Vietnam War, and then during the U.S.-sponsored wars in Central America during the 1980s.  Medical solidarity can include activities such as material aid, training exchanges, conferences, writing in the medical literature, and working within professional organizations.

The Health and Human Rights Project (HaHRP), begun in 2003, represents an effort to extend medical solidarity work to the Israel/Palestine conflict.  Volunteers who visit the conflict zone as part of this work can gain first-hand experience with which they can inform the public health community, the general public, and representative government as to the nature of the conflict.  Using the lens of public health provides sharp focus, as in the case of violations of medical neutrality.  HaHRP provides volunteers the opportunity to work with Palestinian health organizations, such as the Palestinian Medical Relief Society; in addition to serving the local population, volunteers experience first-hand some of the realities of civilian life under military occupation. Cases seen on HaHRP delegations in the occupied Palestinian territories will be presented; such cases provide sentinel examples of violations of medical neutrality.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Describe the dimensions of medical solidarity work that are common across various armed conflict situations. Describe the work of the Health and Human Rights Project to uncover violations of the duty of medical neutrality.

Keyword(s): War, Activism

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Dr. Meyers is a primary care pediatrician. He has been active in medical solidarity work during wars in Vietnam, Central America, and Israel/Palestine. He is co-founder of the Health and Human Rights Project in 2003.
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.