The UN’s Shame and Haiti’s Suffering

It’s well known at this point that the United Nations brought cholera to Haiti. The worst cholera outbreak in recent global health records, in a country that hadn’t seen cholera in its recorded history. 9700 people died. The UN then spent six years attempting to avoid admitting to its role in the transmission. Finally, molecular… Read More »

Language, Power, and Global Health: the privilege of speaking English

  My first couple of overseas jobs were pretty much just being the native English speaker on staff. Right after undergrad, I was an intern with the American University in Cairo. I drafted or edited every piece of writing that came out of our office. Later on, after my master’s degree, I was an intern… Read More »

Humanitarian Response, Complexity, and UHC: My High Hopes for 2014

  These aren’t predictions, exactly, or New Year’s wishes. More like positive signs I am hoping will occur. Clues that we’re getting our act together as an international system.[1] The good omens I would like to see. 1. Better response to complex humanitarian emergencies. Every single year, complex humanitarian emergencies get worse. Refugee and displaced persons… Read More »

Gratitude in a Time of Climate Change

Climate change is going to affect life on earth in ways we can’t even begin to understand yet, but the first impact is the one we’re seeing: extreme weather events. Hurricane Sandy last year, Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda this year, the ice storm that just hit the east coast of the US, famine in Somalia – that’s… Read More »

MRSA, Typhoon, USAID

Typhoon Haiyan from space Books – I have a review copy of Ben Ramalingan’s new book, Aid on the Edge of Chaos. I am very, very excited to read it. Earlier this summer, I read Reinventing Philanthropy: A Framework for More Effective Giving and was really impressed. It’s a drab looking book, but it’s a highly… Read More »

Paula Deen, Sexual Harassment, and International Development

American celebrity chef Paula Deen is getting sued in a big way by a former employer of Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House, a restaurant that’s part of the Paula Deen empire. The Uncle Bubba in question is her brother, Bubba Hiers, and he’s been accused of sexual harassment and racial discrimination in a multi-million dollar lawsuit… Read More »

Three Ways to Spot Bad Data

Warning Sign #1: When government officials use the data to set targets like an increase in vaccination or a decrease in cancer numbers, they always use percentages, not absolute numbers. That’s a sign that people know the numbers are wrong and don’t want to rely on them. (Of course, sometimes it just means that the percentage… Read More »