Latin American social medicine across borders: South–South cooperation and the making of health solidarity

Anne Emanuelle Birn, Carles Muntaner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Latin American social medicine efforts are typically understood as national endeavours, involving health workers, policymakers, academics, social movements, unions, and left-wing political parties, among other domestic actors. But Latin America’s social medicine trajectory has also encompassed considerable between-country solidarity, building on early twentieth century interchanges among a range of players who shared approaches for improving living and working conditions and instituting protective social policies. Since the 1960s, Cuba’s country-to-country solidarity has stood out, comprising medic exchanges, training, and other forms of support for the health and social struggles of oppressed peoples throughout Latin America and around the world, recently via Misión Barrio Adentro in Venezuela. These efforts strive for social justice-oriented health cooperation based on horizontal power relations, shared political values, a commitment to social and economic redistribution, bona fide equity, and an understanding of the societal determination of health that includes, but goes well beyond, public health and medical care. With Latin America’s left-wing surge now receding, this article traces the provenance, dynamics, impact, challenges, and legacy of health solidarity across Latin American borders and its prospects for continuity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalGlobal Public Health
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2018 Feb 23
Externally publishedYes


  • Cuba
  • Latin American social medicine
  • Medical internationalism
  • South–South health cooperation
  • Venezuela

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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