A Doctor in Little Lhasa: One Year in Dharamsala with the Tibetans in Exile
Required reading for students searching for a connection between medical training and social justice. Timothy Holtz's intimate recounting of a year spent serving Tibetan refugees in India describes his struggles with being unable, as one young physician with only a year to spend, to fix the many wrongs he witnessed. Holtz concludes that "practicing good medicine-whether in a modern city or an impoverished refugee community-is far more complex than opening up a magic bag and handing out its contents." Although Holtz may not be aware of it, his memoir is a testament to the fact that he did in fact learn to practice good medicine, and he has been at it ever since. His year in "Little Lhasa" led Holtz to deepen his understanding not only of clinical medicine, but of the social roots of disease and of the indivisibility of health and human rights, broadly conceived. Students and practitioners alike will find this book inspiring. - Paul E. Farmer, Presley Professor, Harvard Medical School; and Co-founder, Partners in Health Timothy Holtz's account is no romance about the joys of practicing medicine among Tibetan exiles in northern India. It is rather about people's suffering from diseases that should easily be prevented, a doctor's efforts to provide good care without the resources he should have, and a community's struggles to cope with the consequences of torture. Even more important for the practice of medicine, it is a story of how a doctor's duty to take care of patients is quite inseparable from seeking to protect their human rights. - Len Rubenstein, Executive Director, Physicians for Human Rights Open this book to find a wonderful story about a transformative journey for a young physician. Timothy Holtz went to India with a purpose, to help Tibetan refugees in their struggle for a better life and better health. Little did he know how much his year working in a small hospital with few resources would change the trajectory of his life. Filled with stories that are both compassionate and humbling, it reminds us all that changing the world happens one person at a time. - Zorba Paster, Professor of Family Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health; and Author of The Longevity Code - Your Personal Prescription for a Longer Sweeter Life In this warm and sensitive memoir, Timothy Holtz portrays the challenges confronting the Tibetan exile community in Dharamsala as it struggles to preserve its culture and traditions. In recounting heartwarming stories of illness and healing, Holtz also reveals his own personal path of growth and discovery as a physician. The episodes he tells are sobering, but also inspiring, such as fighting drug-resistant tuberculosis in newly arrived refugees, and assisting nuns who survived torture in their native Tibet only to face the hardships of an unfamiliar country. I recommend this book for anyone interested in better understanding the lives of Tibetans in exile, as they fight to survive and to safeguard their traditional culture and human dignity. - Geshe Lobsang Tenzin Negi, Director, Emory-Tibet Partnership; and Spiritual Director, Drepung Loseling Monastery, Inc.
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