Using a definition that emphasizes homogeneity, hybridization, interdependence and smoother and swifter flows of money, people, images, values and ideas across national borders, the links between globalization and health are examined across four themes: health and the environment, the movement of people, the movement of economic activities and health care as a global economic activity. Under each theme, how globalization affects health is examined at various geographic scales from the global to the local. In the section on health and the environment the impacts of global climate, air and water pollution are the foci for discussion. The section on the movement of people looks at documented immigration as a global phenomenon, refugees at the regional level, rural to urban migration and everyday airline travel, all of which generate health challenges and challenge health care systems. In the section on the movement of economic activities, the movement of industries has created new health challenges for developed and developing countries. Medical tourism is also examined as an activity that is at the intersection of economics and health and expedited through globalization. Under the fourth theme, health and health care are examined as global industries where the international pharmaceutical, food, beverage and tobacco industries are highlighted for the ways that they use the nature of globalization to their advantage even if it disadvantages the health of people regardless of whether they live in the developed or developing world.
Mark W. Rosenberg and Natalie Waldbrook
New technologies in health care are viewed in this chapter through two perspectives: how geographers have taken them up in their research, and how these technologies are creating new health care landscapes. In the first view, GIS has become instrumental in mapping diseases, understanding various populations and their contexts, and in health care planning (including emergency responses), all of which are facilitated by the rise of national health databases. In the second view, innovations such as telemedicine and virtual care are redefining how health care is provided and to whom; the chapter also focuses on the implications for understanding the health geographies of the elderly.