Exploring medical peace education and a call for peace medicine
Medical peace work and peace education are requested and practiced. Experiences in practice and teaching are, however, unstructured and fragmentary; there is a need for a sound and comprehensive theoretical concept. Applying Galtung’s distinction between direct, structural and cultural violence, and between negative and positive peace, the framework of ‘peace medicine’ is presented as a possible new discipline in peace and health science, specializing on the health sector’s contribution to all forms of violence prevention and sustainable peace building, both on a macro and micro level. In order to explore the range of medical peace education, interviews were conducted with 25 representatives from Norwegian organizations and institutions that deal with peace work, education or research. 97 self-selected medical peace practitioners answering to an online questionnaire then prioritized the information on content and strategies. The results revealed a preference for human rights violation and torture, poverty and development needs, refugee problems and racism, and other global peace and health challenges. Communication and cultural sensitivity, bio-psycho-social understanding of health and local/global context, as well as compassion and respect for others were identified as the most relevant skills, knowledge and values/attitudes for medical peace work. The most recommended teaching methods were predominantly of a practical nature, such as student exchange and fieldwork, or experience-based lectures. Institutional co-operation with poor or conflict-prone countries was seen as the best way to improve medical peace education in Norway. A systematic literature search in the medical database MEDLINE revealed that little has been published on global peace education. Well-established micro-level frameworks like ‘violence prevention’ and ‘medical ethics’ seem to be suitable for teaching most of the requested peace qualities, but emerging macro-level frameworks (e.g. ‘global health’ and ‘peace through health’) fit better. Yet, global education could benefit from the rich teaching and incorporation experiences of the former.
ForlagUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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