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Summer of Public Health: Reading Recommendations

Representatives from ASPPH member institutions have put together a recommended Summer of Public Health reading list. The list will help those looking to enrich their minds while enjoying the summer months.

Dean Linda P. Fried, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, recommends the book Urban Alchemy: Restoring Joy in America’s Sorted-Out Cities by Dr. Mindy Fullilove, professor of Sociomedical Sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health and professor of Psychiatry at the College of Physicians and Surgeons. Using the work of French urbanist Michel Cantal-Dupart and the American urban design firm Rothschild Doyno Collaborative as guides, urban restoration projects from France and the U.S. as exemplary cases, and her own unique perspective as a public health psychiatrist, Dr.  Fullilove offers a nine-point instruction list for how to correct the social imbalances in our cities and reconnect communities.

This summer, the University at Albany SUNY School of Public Health community has been invited to participate in an All School Read project. Students, faculty and staff were asked to vote on one of five books to become the first All School Read selection. Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis by Dr. Robert D. Putnam, a book suggested by Dean Philip C. Nasca, received the greatest number of votes. This thought-provoking book explores why fewer Americans today have the opportunity for upward mobility enjoyed by previous generations. Most of us still want to believe in the American dream:  that anyone, if they get a good education and work hard can achieve success and prosperity. But, as shown by Dr. Putnam, the Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University, the United States has witnessed a disturbing ‘opportunity gap’ emerge over the past 25 years.  There is no doubt that the factors driving these shifts in our society are also associated with the growing level of health disparities now being seen in the U.S.  What was true for earlier generations of Americans no longer seems true today.   The question becomes one we all struggle with:  Will today’s kids, “our kids,” be able to achieve the American dream?

Dean Michael G. Perri of the University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions recommends All the Light We Cannot See by Mr. Anthony Doerr. Winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, “All the Light We Cannot See” is an extraordinarily well-written historical novel set in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s. The lives of the main characters, Marie-Laure, a French girl who is blind, and Werner, an orphan living in a German mining town, are changed dramatically by World War II. The book provides insight into how the events of that era affected individuals and how they struggled to do the right thing in the face of great danger. Two programs are scheduled in Fall 2015 for readers to learn more about the issues and to discuss the book.  Learn more about the All School Read project.

This summer and fall, incoming and current students at the University of Washington School of Public Health will be reading The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color Blindness by Ms. Michelle Alexander.  Each year, students in all six Health Sciences schools at the university read a common book around which curriculum segments, panels, and discussion groups are held.