Activism is action on behalf of a cause, action that goes beyond what is conventional or routine and is relative to the actions by others.
Health activism is a growing area of interest for many who work to improve health at both national and international levels because it offers a more direct approach to achieve lasting social and political change. This book, for the first time, provides a clear foundation to the theory, evidence-base and strategies that can be harnessed to bring about change to improve the lives and health of others.
For anyone working to improve the health of groups and communities, this will be thought-provoking reading. It has particular relevance for postgraduate students and practitioners in public health and health promotion.
Chapter 7: The Individual as Activist
The Individual as Activist
The Role of the Health Activist
In 1847, the Prussian province of Silesia was ravaged by a typhoid epidemic. Because the crisis threatened the population of coal miners in the area, and thus the economy, the Prussian government hired a young pathologist, Rudolf Virchow, to investigate the problem. His employers imagined that Virchow would return with the recommendation then in vogue; a little more fresh air, a little more fresh drinking water. But Virchow had much more to say about the situation. He had spent three weeks in early 1848, not studying statistics or bureaucratic reports, but living with the miners and their families. One of the first points he made in his report was that typhoid was only ...