Urban Health and Society: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Research and Practice

Praise for Urban Health and Society

"This is a spectacular resource for practitioners, policymakers, researchers, and students interested in improving the lives and health of individuals and families in urban settings. This book provides the most current frameworks, research, and approaches for understanding how unique features of the urban physical and social environments that shape the health of over half of the world's population that is already residing in large cities. Its interdisciplinary research and practice focus is a welcome innovation."
—Hortensia Amaro, associate dean, Urban Health Research; Distinguished Professor, Bouve College of Health Sciences; and director, Institute on Urban Health Research, Northeastern University

"Urban Health and Society: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Research and Practice provides students in public health, urban planning, social work, and other professions with the critical knowledge and practical guidance they need to work as effective members of interdisciplinary teams aimed at studying and addressing urban health problems. Throughout the chapters, the book's attention to community participation, social justice, and equity as well as interdisciplinary research methods make it an invaluable resource."
—Barbara A. Israel, professor, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health, University of Michigan

"The book will be of great interest to academics, politicians, planners, and public health professionals attempting to understand or reduce urban health risks, create safe urban environments, and deliver effective and sustainable health services and programs to urban populations."
—Stephen Lepore, professor and PhD program director, Department of Public Health, Temple University

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About the author

Nicholas Freudenberg is Distinguished Professor of Urban Public Health at Hunter College and of Social Psychology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York where he directs the CUNY Doctor of Public Health Program.

Susan Klitzman is professor of Environmental Health and director of the Urban Public Health Program, Hunter College. She currently serves on the New York City Board of Health.

Susan Saegert is professor of Human and Organizational Development and director of the Center of Community Studies at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. She is the former director of the Center for Human Environments and professor of Environmental Psychology at the CUNY Graduate Center.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Jossey-Bass
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Published on
Jun 22, 2009
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Pages
448
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ISBN
9780470483015
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Language
English
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Genres
Medical / General
Medical / Public Health
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Reading information

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Nicholas Freudenberg
Decisions made by the food, tobacco, alcohol, pharmaceutical, gun, and automobile industries have a greater impact on today's health than the decisions of scientists and policymakers. As the collective influence of corporations has grown, governments around the world have stepped back from their responsibility to protect public health by privatizing key services, weakening regulations, and cutting funding for consumer and environmental protection. Today's corporations are increasingly free to make decisions that benefit their bottom line at the expense of public health. Lethal but Legal examines how corporations have impacted -- and plagued -- public health over the last century, first in industrialized countries and now in developing regions. It is both a current history of corporations' antagonism towards health and an analysis of the emerging movements that are challenging these industries' dangerous practices. The reforms outlined here aim to strike a healthier balance between large companies' right to make a profit and governments' responsibility to protect their populations. While other books have addressed parts of this story, Lethal but Legal is the first to connect the dots between unhealthy products, business-dominated politics, and the growing burdens of disease and health care costs. By identifying the common causes of all these problems, then situating them in the context of other health challenges that societies have overcome in the past, this book provides readers with the insights they need to take practical and effective action to restore consumers' right to health.
Nicholas Freudenberg
Decisions made by the food, tobacco, alcohol, pharmaceutical, gun, and automobile industries have a greater impact on today's health than the decisions of scientists and policymakers. As the collective influence of corporations has grown, governments around the world have stepped back from their responsibility to protect public health by privatizing key services, weakening regulations, and cutting funding for consumer and environmental protection. Today's corporations are increasingly free to make decisions that benefit their bottom line at the expense of public health. Lethal but Legal examines how corporations have impacted -- and plagued -- public health over the last century, first in industrialized countries and now in developing regions. It is both a current history of corporations' antagonism towards health and an analysis of the emerging movements that are challenging these industries' dangerous practices. The reforms outlined here aim to strike a healthier balance between large companies' right to make a profit and governments' responsibility to protect their populations. While other books have addressed parts of this story, Lethal but Legal is the first to connect the dots between unhealthy products, business-dominated politics, and the growing burdens of disease and health care costs. By identifying the common causes of all these problems, then situating them in the context of other health challenges that societies have overcome in the past, this book provides readers with the insights they need to take practical and effective action to restore consumers' right to health.
Susan Saegert
Neighborhood support groups have always played a key role in helping the poor survive, but combating poverty requires more than simply meeting the needs of day-to-day subsistence. Social Capital and Poor Communities shows the significant achievements that can be made through collective strategies, which empower the poor to become active partners in revitalizing their neighborhoods. Trust and cooperation among residents and local organizations such as churches, small businesses, and unions form the basis of social capital, which provides access to resources that would otherwise be out of reach to poor families.

Social Capital and Poor Communities examines civic initiatives that have built affordable housing, fostered small businesses, promoted neighborhood safety, and increased political participation. At the core of each initiative lie local institutions—church congregations, parent-teacher groups, tenant associations, and community improvement alliances. The contributors explore how such groups build networks of leaders and followers and how the social power they cultivate can be successfully transferred from smaller goals to broader political advocacy. For example, community-based groups often become platforms for leaders hoping to run for local office. Church-based groups and interfaith organizations can lobby for affordable housing, job training programs, and school improvement.

Social Capital and Poor Communities convincingly demonstrates why building social capital is so important in enabling the poor to seek greater access to financial resources and public services. As the contributors make clear, this task is neither automatic nor easy. The book's frank discussions of both successes and failures illustrate the pitfalls—conflicts of interest, resistance from power elites, and racial exclusion—that can threaten even the most promising initiatives. The impressive evidence in this volume offers valuable insights into how goal formation, leadership, and cooperation can be effectively cultivated, resulting in a remarkable force for change and a rich public life even for those communities mired in seemingly hopeless poverty.

A Volume in the Ford Foundation Series on Asset Building

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