Judith Lasker's new work, Hoping to Help, is an eminently accessible book that anyone involved in international medical volunteering should read. Lasker writes about an important trend: short-term volunteering in international health, specifically by citizens of rich countries who spend brief periods working on health projects in poor countries at their own expense. By short-term, the author means less than six months, although one to two weeks is the average length of trips. She asks logical, commonsense questions about this trend and answers them concisely but without eliminating complexity and ambiguity. Readers wanting to know more about how Lasker came to these conclusions can consult the appendix describing research methods. Before signing off, Lasker offers help for potential volunteers and host communities by developing a framework for evaluating the possible benefits and harms of such programs. Hoping to Help is a...

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