Publications ‑ Books, Podcasts, etc.

Rethinking Rural Health Ethics, 2017

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The first book to critique the existing urban-centric understanding of health ethics."

Authors:  Christy Simpson & Fiona McDonald

This book challenges readers to rethink rural health ethics.  Traditional approaches to health ethics are often urban-centric, making implicit assumptions about how values and norms apply in health care practice, and as such may fail to take into account the complexity, depth, richness, and diversity of the rural context.  There are ethically relevant differences between rural health practice and rural health services delivery and urban practice and delivery that go beyond the stereotypes associated with rural life and rural health services.  This book examines key values in the rural context that have not been fully explored or taken into account when we examine health ethics issues, including the values of community and place, and a need to “revalue” relationships. It also advocates for a greater attention to meso and macro level analysis in rural health ethics as being critical to ethical analysis of rural health care.  This book is essential reading for those involved in health ethics, rural health policy and governance, and for rural health providers.

Read John McPhee's article in the Chronicle Herald here.


Future of Medicine Conference in Denver

Christy Simpson was one of the speakers on this panel.

Health Advocacy, Inc. How Pharmaceutical Funding Changed the Breast Cancer Movement, 2017

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"Sharon Batt, herself a breast cancer survivor, weaves the personal with the political to tell the story of how most of the breast cancer movement ended up in the arms of the pharmaceutical industry. Abandoned by the federal government as it increasingly adopted a set of neoliberal values, the patient breast cancer groups turned to the drug companies for funding, and in doing so lost their way." – Joel Lexchin, MD, Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Health, York University and author of Doctors in Denial: Why Big Pharma and the Canadian Medical Profession Are Too Close for Comfort

Author: Sharon Batt

About the Book

Today, most patient groups in Canada are funded by the pharmaceutical industry, raising an important ethical question: do alliances between patient organizations and corporate sponsors ultimately lead to policies that are counter to the public interest? In this examination of Canada's breast cancer movement from 1990 to 2010, health activist, scholar, and cancer survivor Sharon Batt investigates the relationship between patient advocacy groups and the pharmaceutical industry – and the hidden implications of pharma funding for health policy.

Health Advocacy, Inc. dissects the alliances between the companies that sell pharmaceuticals and the individuals who use them, drawing links between neoliberalism and corporate financing and the ensuing threat to the public health care system. Batt combines archival analysis, interviews with advocacy and industry representatives, and personal observation to reveal how a reduction in state funding drove patient groups to form partnerships with the private sector. The resulting power imbalance continues to challenge the groups' ability to put patients' interests ahead of those of the industry.

Batt's conclusion is unsettling: a once-vibrant movement that encouraged democratic participation in the development of health policy now eerily echoes the demands of the pharmaceutical industry. This thorough account of the shift from grassroots advocacy to Big Pharma partnership defines the struggles and stakes of activism in public health today.