In Poverty and Neglected Tropical Diseases in the American Rural South, Christine Crudo Blackburn and Macey T. Lively study regions of the United States rarely acknowledged by the average American. These are regions of extreme poverty in the rural American South where a mixture of historical discrimination, structural discrimination, lack of opportunities, and decaying infrastructure conspire to create an environment conducive to chronic, debilitating diseases known as Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). Blackburn and Lively explore the conditions that allow NTDs to thrive in a wealthy nation like the United States when such diseases are typically associated with the poorest communities in Africa, Asia, and South America. Poverty and Neglected Tropical Diseases pulls back the curtain on the reality of poverty and disease in America and tell the story of failing sanitation infrastructure, the lack of clean water, the inability to access healthcare, and the lack of financial security through the eyes of those living it every day.
Christine Crudo Blackburn is assistant research scientist and deputy director of the Pandemic and Biosecurity Policy Program at the Bush School of Government and Public Service and adjunct faculty member in the department of health promotion and Community Health Sciences at Texas A&M University.
Macey Lively received her master of international affairs degree from the Bush School of Government and Public Service and is currently a master of public health student in the School of Public Health at Texas A&M University.
Chapter One: Yesterday and Today: Neglected Tropical Diseases in the Southern United States
Chapter Two: Poverty in America: Poverty, Health, and Neglected Tropical Diseases
Chapter Three: Forgotten but not Gone: Neglected Tropical Diseases Risk Factors
Chapter Four: The People’s Voice: Poverty and NTDs in the Modern-Day South
The commonly held impression is that [neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)] are a "global" issue, i.e., a problem "over there." Not so, argue the authors of this book. According to them, NTDs are more prevalent than expected in the American South. They prosper there not only because of climate but also because of poverty. Hence, eradication or mitigation requires policy changes in recognition of their common social determinants, in addition to specific medical and public health efforts. Blackburn and Lively present a passionate call to action that is well researched and clearly argued. Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates. Graduate students, faculty, and professionals.
Anyone who is interested in public health in the United States should read this book. The authors call attention to a very important and under-discussed issue in the United States: that many of our citizens are experiencing extreme poverty and suffering from neglected tropical diseases, while being ignored and neglected by our government and fellow citizens. This is a very important issue that needs to be centered in collective public knowledge in order to bring necessary medical and infrastructural aid to affected regions. The authors do an amazing job of bringing this to light, making the issue of health disparities in the United States personal and relatable. This book is also incredibly timely, especially as we are seeing the socioeconomic and health disparities highlighted here playing out with devastating consequences in the U.S. with COVID-19.