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Creating Moral Commodities:  Marketing in the For-Profit Global Health Volunteering Industry - Noelle Sullivan

recurring see all events in this series

When: Thursday, October 29, 2020
12:00 PM - 12:45 PM Central

Where: Online

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students


Contact: Myria Knox   312.503.7962

Group: Medical Humanities & Bioethics Lunchtime Montgomery Lectures

Category: Academic, Lectures & Meetings, Multicultural & Diversity


The Master of Arts in Medical Humanities & Bioethics


A Montgomery Lecture


Noelle Sullivan, PhD
Associate Professor of Instruction
Program in Global Health Studies
Northwestern University

Creating Moral Commodities: 
Marketing in the For-Profit Global Health Volunteering Industry

Global health travel interest has spiked over the last two decades. In response to the demand by students in particular, hundreds of international “voluntourism” companies have emerged. These companies offer placements in health facilities in the so-called Global South where students can intern, complete an elective, or volunteer. As public debates about the ethics of “voluntourism” have become common, companies have responded by advertising themselves as providing ethical, safe, and worthwhile placements where students can help “make a difference” in under-resourced health facilities. Yet in spite of companies’ advertising pivot emphasizing the impact and ethical nature of their projects, the industry nonetheless creates an enabling environment for unethical engagements and practices that undermine the safety and quality of health care. This talk emerges from Sullivan’s book manuscript in progress, The Business of Good Intentions: Reframing the Global Health Volunteering Debate, based on ethnographic and online research undertaken from 2008-2017.


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