01 Nov 2009
Hagopian A, Ratevosian J, deRiel E. (2009). Gathering in Groups: Peace Advocacy in Health Professional Associations. Acad Med. 84(11), 1485. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181baa21b
War is arguably the largest threat to human health, although health professional associations rarely acknowledge it as such. Perhaps because war and the conditions that create it are considered “too political” or “beyond the scope of our mission,” our associations traditionally duck when it comes to challenging the decision to enter into a war. And yet, as a Lancet editorial pointed out earlier this year, the Hippocratic Oath and care for human life should make advocacy for the health needs of civilians during war more than just a humanitarian concern: “It is what being a member of the medical profession should be all about.” The editorial suggests that all doctors should call on their governments, “perhaps through their national medical organizations,” to ensure civilian access to medical attention.