CFS: Health Care to the Poor

Call for Proposals–Narrative Symposium: Delivering Health Care in Severely Resource-Constrained Settings

Edited by Paul Farmer, MD, PhD and Sadath Sayeed, JD, MD

Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics will publish an issue devoted to personal stories about the experiences of delivering health care to the poor in severely resource-constrained settings. We believe the soul of global health work can be recaptured by story-telling. Narratives remind us of the immense challenges—programmatic and moral—involved in this work, and why global health demands of its practitioners an alternate mode of audit than sterile academic methodologies. It returns to the moral sentiments that led us to this work in the first place.

We want your true, personal stories in a form that is interesting and easy to read. In writing your story, you might want to think about:

  1. Why have you made it your life’s work to help poor people to receive decent and adequate health care services?
  2. Describe some of the joys, challenges, and frustrations you face as a health care practitioner for the poor?
  3. What does the popularization of “global health” amongst the wealthiest communities of health care providers mean to you and the population you serve?
  4. What should a commitment to human equality require of us?
  5. What should a commitment to human justice require of us?
  6. Is access to decent, adequate and affordable health care a local, provincial, national, and/or global moral and ethical concern? On whose shoulders should the responsibility for its ultimate achievement rest?

You do not need to address each of these questions—write on the issues that you think are most important to share with others. If you are not a writer, just tell your story in your own words and our editorial staff will work with you.

We plan to publish 10 to 12 brief stories (4 – 10 double-spaced pages or 800 – 2000 words) on this topic. Some additional stories may be published as online-only supplemental material. We will also publish one or two commentary articles that discuss the stories that are published in the journal. If you are interested in submitting a story, we ask you first to submit a 300-word proposal—a short description of the story you want to tell. Inquiries or proposals should be sent to the editorial office via email: . We will give preference to story proposals received by Oct. 30, 2011. For more information about the journal Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics, the guidelines for authors, and privacy policies, visit our webpage with Johns Hopkins University Press at:

A sample of the material published by Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics is found at:


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