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Yale Medical School x ThiNK host Dr. Kee Park's Lecture, "The Geopolitical Determinants of Health in North Korea"
December 1, 2018
On November 26, the Yale University School of Medicine and There's Hope in North Korea--along with a few other organizations like Yale Macmillan Center Council on East Asian Studies--welcomed Dr. Kee Park as he shared his insight into humanitarian intervention in the DPRK, as well as the need for health aid amid human rights and political concerns.
Dr. Park is the Paul Farmer Global Surgery Scholar at the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. In addition, he is the Director of DPRK Programs for the Korean American Medical Association, where Dr. Park leads a group of doctors (both Korean and non-Korean heritage) and students in an effort to broadly engage in the health sector. The goal is to improve safety, quality, and access to all who need medical and surgical care through strengthening of the healthcare system. Some ongoing activities include biannual medical exchange trips to DPRK, international medical conferences in DPRK co-organized with the DPRK Medical Association, and support for overseas training of DPRK doctors.
During the lecture, he focused on the history of what led to the impoverished economic and civic state of North Korea and its people, as well as his experiences of medical procedures during his visits in North Korea. "Medicine is a social science and politics is nothing but medicine on a large scale...physicians are the natural attorneys of the poor," quoted Dr. Park from Rudolf Virchow's famous statement about the impact of medicine.
Dr. Park emphasized the need to speak out to the public about such issues, and the necessary discernment of the validity of "facts" that news outlets report. "Don't be afraid to speak for what's right," stated Dr. Park. In the global political tension today, it seems that the search for the truth is more important than ever.