Buchanan Authors A Humanistic Approach to Health Promotion

David Buchanan

January 15, 2021

Professor Emeritus David Buchanan has authored A Humanistic Approach to Health Promotion, a new book published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

A Humanistic Approach to Health Promotion presents a distinct, ethically robust framework for improving population health when the major causes of disease, death and disability are closely associated with human behaviors. Rather than relying on a scientific, technological strategy aimed at developing ever more powerful and effective techniques for changing behaviors, a humanistic approach recognizes the unique human capacity for dignity and moral decision-making. The book provides ethical standards, case studies and concrete practical analogies to demonstrate the feasibility and benefits of moving the field of health promotion in a new humanistic direction.

“I have long been fascinated by the yawning gap between the striking success of the biomedical sciences in preventing, controlling and treating infectious diseases and the dismal performance of the behavioral sciences in developing comparably effective interventions to change those human behaviors associated with preventing chronic diseases,” says Buchanan. “This book represents my current thinking about how to understand and explain this startling discrepancy. If people are now wondering why public health authorities’ efforts to get people to wear face masks and practice social distancing have failed so miserably while everyone awaits the arrival of a biomedical COVID-19 vaccine, this book will shed light on the significant challenges and distinctive barriers facing the development of a science of health promotion. We need to radically revise our thinking on the epistemological and ethical foundations of the field.”

Buchanan retired in 2018 after serving as a faculty member at the University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences for 29 years, during which he served as Chair of the Department of Health Promotion and Policy and the founding director of the UMass Amherst Institute for Global Health. He is the author of over 100 peer-reviewed publications and four books.

A Humanistic Approach to Health Promotion may be purchased directly from Cambridge Scholars Publishing here.