Heymann, Jody 1959–
Heymann, Jody 1959–
(Sally Jo Heymann)
Born October 13, 1959. Education: Harvard Medical School, M.D. (with honors), 1989; Harvard University, Ph.D., 1992.
Physician, educator, researcher, and writer. McGill University, Montréal, Quebec, Canada, professor in the faculties of medicine and arts department, founding director of the Institute for Health and Social Policy, Canada Research Chair in Global Health and Social Policy; Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, adjunct professor of society, human development, and health; founder and director, Project on Global Working Families. Former chair, Johnson Foundation Program on Work, Family, and Democracy. Advisor, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); the U.S. Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources; the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions; the World Health Organization; and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Picker Commonwealth Scholar.
Equal Partners: A Physician's Call for a New Spirit of Medicine(memoir), Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1995.
The Widening Gap: Why America's Working Families Are in Jeopardy and What Can Be Done about It, Basic Books (New York, NY), 2000.
(Editor, with Christopher Beem)Unfinished Work: Building Equality and Democracy in an Era of Working Families, New Press (New York, NY), 2005.
(Editor, with Clyde Hertzman, Morris L. Barer, and Robert G. Evans)Healthier Societies: From Analysis to Action, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2005.
Forgotten Families: Ending the Growing Crisis Confronting Children and Working Parents in the Global Economy, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2006.
Contributor to books, including Can Working Families Ever Win?, edited by Joshua Cohen and Joel Rogers, Beacon Press (Boston, MA), 2002; and Healthier Societies: From Analysis to Action, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2006. Contributor to academic journals, including AIDS Care Journal, Journal of Women's Health, American Journal of Public Health, Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, Archives of Medical Research, Journal of Comparative Family Studies, Journal of the American Medical Association, Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, AIDS Education and Prevention, and Community, Work and Family.
Jody Heymann is a physician and educator who is also an expert in public policy. Her primary academic research interests include the impact of social policy and social conditions on health globally; poverty, income inequality, and health; trade, labor conditions, and health; the social and health impacts of the global HIV/AIDS crisis; the needs of orphans; and health promotion and disease prevention. In her first book,Equal Partners: A Physician's Call for a New Spirit of Medicine, Heymann presents both a memoir and a call for better doctor-patient relationships. The memoir revolves around Heymann's experience of suffering a seizure and being placed in intensive neurological care. The author recounts the year and a half that she found herself both doctor and patient. In her story, Heymann recounts her feeling of being on the outside as a patient who, even though she is a doctor, was not allowed to participate in her physicians' discussion of her case. Furthermore, she was sometimes badly treated and even misdiagnosed. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that the author "speaks candidly of her vulnerability." In her critique of the doctor-patient relationship, Heymann relies on accounts from friends and her experiences with her own patients. One area that Heymann focuses on is medical education, which, she argues, needs to undergo some dramatic changes in order to better sensitize and train physicians in providing compassionate care for their patients. William Beatty, writing in Booklist, commented that the author provides "an on-the-scene picture of what can go wrong, why it does, and what can be done."
In The Widening Gap: Why America's Working Families Are in Jeopardy and What Can Be Done about It, Heymann addresses the problems working families face in modern America. According to her, the problems go far beyond making enough money. She points out that the demands of work in the modern world often include both parents working, which adversely affects family life and keeps parents from caring fully for their children. "In examining the shortages of time and money that families face, Heymann takes a broad view of how these needs change during a lifetime and how they vary across different types of families, such as those with special-needs children and those of different social and economic classes," reported Ellen Magenheim in the Forum for Applied Research and Public Policy. In addition to pointing out the problems, the author also suggests solutions, such as flexible work schedules for parents and new approaches to schooling children. "The Widening Gap integrates a range of social science approaches and analyses in a way that will be informative for readers," commented Magenheim. Anthony Baltakis, writing in the Journal of Labor Research, called The Widening Gap "a fine effort supported by considerable data and anecdotal evidence," adding that the author "has put a face on the working poor, a sub-sector of the economy often ignored by politicians and the media."
Unfinished Work: Building Equality and Democracy in an Era of Working Families, which the author edited with Christopher Beem, is a collection of fourteen essays that addresses the changing face of the American working family and civil society. Among the topics addressed are inequalities involving class and gender, economic issues faced by working families, and the failure of both corporations and unions to focus on important problems affecting workers and families as the face of American work changes. A Reference & Research News contributor noted that the editors and authors seek "to expand the debate about work and family" so that the debates involve not only economic issues but also "social, civic, and moral" concerns.
Heymann is also the founder and director of the Project on Global Working Families, a research program at McGill and Harvard Universities and the first program devoted to understanding and improving the relationship between working conditions and family health and well-being throughout the world. In her 2006 book,Forgotten Families: Ending the Growing Crisis Confronting Children and Working Parents in the Global Economy, Heymann reports on her findings and those of her research teams concerning families in developing countries amid a new global economy. The researchers surveyed more than 55,000 families from seven countries, and their stories reveal how families in developing countries are suffering in this new economy. According to Heymann, globalization has forced third-world countries into a "race to the bottom" in the areas of both labor standards and social policies. To make a living in the new globalized economy, parents and children have been forced to work long hours, sometimes in "sweatshop" conditions, leaving them with little time to raise their children.
"Parents' work has shifted markedly around the world—and that goes for every region," Heymann told Juliana Bunim in an interview in Mother Jones. "Men in particular have been moving away from farmed-based work, and into industrial and post-industrial work—so they've moved away from the home. Women, likewise, have moved into the paid labor force and away from the home. From the period between 1960 and 2000 the number of women in the labor force went from 26 to 38 percent in the Caribbean, from 16 to 33 percent in Central America and from 31 to 46 percent in North America."
Heymann believes that the crisis is furthered by the fact that the global problem with HIV and AIDS, coupled with immigration restrictions, has led to fractured families that separate children from their parents. The author points out that the move toward urbanization that is an inherent part of globalization could be a good economic opportunity for rural families. However, it has resulted in workers having to accept reduced labor standards under the threat of a company moving their operations to a more labor-lenient country. As a result, workers often accept substandard wages and have to work longer hours with fewer benefits.
"According to the interviews we did, 36 percent of families with preschool-age children had left the young children home alone," Heymann told Bunim in Mother Jones. "More than a third had either left a sick child home alone or sent that sick child to school or day-care, spreading that illness to others. Of those parents who had to leave their children home alone, two-thirds of those children suffered accidents or emergencies while their parents were at work. These are devastating numbers."
In her book Heymann tells the stories of many individual families who, without higher labor standards, end up sacrificing not only their own health but also their children's health so they can make a living wage. A Publishers Weekly contributor called Forgotten Families "a valuable primary source for policy makers." The critic also commented on the author's solutions for the problem, noting that, "though idealistic, [they] are reasonable."
Heymann is also a contributor to Can Working Families Ever Win?, edited by Joshua Cohen and Joel Rogers. Here, Heymann presents her view on the working American family, chronicling the growing need for both parents to work, thus leaving them less time to care for their children. In addition she addresses the dearth of quality family services that are available for working families and the inadequate response of the federal government to the growing need for such services. The book includes various experts who respond to Heymann's depiction of what she sees as a family-care crisis and the need for government programs. Vanessa Bush, writing in Booklist, commended "the vital critical debate offered in this slender book."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Heymann, Jody,Equal Partners: A Physician's Call for a New Spirit of Medicine, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1995.
Annals of Internal Medicine, December 1, 1995, Rita Charon, review of Equal Partners: A Physician's Call for a New Spirit of Medicine, p. 895.
Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, September, 2001, Shari Rudavsky, review of The Widening Gap: Why America's Working Families Are in Jeopardy and What Can Be Done about It, p. 1075.
Booklist, February 15, 1995, William Beatty, review of Equal Partners, p. 1046; June 1, 2002, Vanessa Bush, review of Can Working Families Ever Win?, p. 1651.
Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, April, 2001, L. Wolfer, review of The Widening Gap, p. 1498; September, 2006, Ellen Magenheim, review of Forgotten Families: Ending the Growing Crisis Confronting Children and Working Parents in the Global Economy, p. 161.
Contemporary Sociology, September 2006, review of Healthier Societies: From Analysis to Action, p. 537.
Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, September-October, 2002, Eva Havas, review of The Widening Gap, p. 616.
Hastings Center Report, July, 1995, review of Equal Partners, p. 42.
JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, June 2, 2004, David Koh, review of Global Inequalities at Work: Work's Impact on the Health of Individuals, Families, and Societies, p. 2647.
Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, August, 2007, Susan J. Lambert, review of Forgotten Families, p. 745.
Journal of Labor Research, summer, 2002, Anthony Baltakis, review of The Widening Gap.
Library Journal, February 1, 1995, James Swanton, review of Equal Partners, p. 95.
Mother Jones, November, 2000, Lisa Belkin, "Family Matters"; April 21, 2006, Julia Bunim, "Forgotten Families," interview with Jody Heymann.
New England Journal of Medicine, May 20, 2004, William S. Beckett, review of Global Inequalities at Work, p. 2218.
Progressive, February, 2003, review of Can Working Families Ever Win?, p. 41.
Publishers Weekly, January 30, 1995, review of Equal Partners, p. 90; November 7, 2005, review of Forgotten Families, p. 69.
Reference & Research Book News, February, 2001, review of The Widening Gap, p. 81; February, 2003, review of Can Working Families Ever Win?, p. 100; February, 2006, review of Unfinished Work: Building Democracy and Equality in an Era of Working Families.
Social Science & Medicine, August 15, 1996, Randall S. Stafford, review of Equal Partners, p. 570.
Times Higher Education Supplement, November 2, 2006, Patricia Morgan, "Who Cares for the Kids When Mum and Dad Must Go to Work?," review of Forgotten Families, p. 28.
Voice of Youth Advocates, April, 2001, review of The Widening Gap, p. 78.
Harvard School of Public Health,http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/ (October 24, 2007), faculty profile of Jody Heymann.
McGill University Web site,http://www.mcgill.ca/ (October 24, 2007), faculty profile of Jody Heymann.
Project on Global Working Families,http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/globalworkingfamilies/ (October 24, 2007), profile of Jody Heymann.