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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Epic Measures by Jeremy N. Smith

Epic Measures by Jeremy N. Smith
Published by Harper Wave ISBN 978-006-223751-4
Trade paperback, $15.99

Given that Congress is in the process of deciding which health care bill will best serve Americans, Jeremy N. Smith's book Epic Measures One Doctor. Seven Billion Patients. is a most timely read.

Although we live in the "Age of Big Data" as Smith states, where we all have Fitbits to track our every step, and you can pay $99 to have your DNA analyzed, it is remarkable that we don't have accurate statistics on what makes people ill and what they die from. In 147 of 192 countries, reliable death certificates do not exist.

 Chad Murray, an Oxford graduate, came to believe that his life's mission was to "measure how we sicken and die in order to improve how we live". Murray is a physician and economist, and an extremely driven man. His interest in health care began when his family went to work at a hospital in Niger (he was ten years old).

The hospital had no electricity, water or supplies, but they had plenty of patients.  Chad was the pharmacist, errand boy and assisted his father by holding the light so he could perform surgery. He learned how to persevere under difficult conditions.

Because Murray "combined the talents of a demographer and an epidemiologist, a biologist and a doctor, an economist and a policy expert", he was uniquely qualified to see the big picture of disease and mortality.

Murray's prickly personality hurt him when it came to working with others in the political arena. Worldwide organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, and the UN led the way in working on health care issues, especially in the arena of childhood mortality.

Many people felt threatened by Murray's assertions that we must get accurate statistics on disease and disability in adults in order to objectively measure the health of the entire world. After working with many established organizations, Murray founded The Institute for Health Matrics and Evaluation, with the help of Bill Gates.

Murray and his staff of many around the world created a matrix that wanted to "turn information into evidence, evidence into action and action into results." They believed that global health is an instrument for social justice.

Epic Measures is not just a book that will interest statistic or math geeks, health care providers and politicians, it is a fascinating look at how the most basic human need- good health- can be achieved through getting accurate information, and once you had that, realistically finding solutions.

Fans of good narrative non-fiction, like The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and Hidden Figures have found their next great read. And if you want to give your Congressperson a gift, a copy of Epic Measures would help everyone.

Thanks to TLC Tours for putting me on Jeremy N. Smith's tour. The rest of his stops are here:

Tour Stops

Tuesday, March 28th: Lit and Life
Thursday, March 30th: bookchickdi
Friday, March 31st: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Tuesday, April 4th: Sapphire Ng
Wednesday, April 5th: Readaholic Zone
Thursday, April 6th: Man of La Book
Monday, April 10th: Doing Dewey
Tuesday, April 11th: Based on a True Story
Wednesday, April 12th: Kissin Blue Karen
Friday, April 14th: Read Till Dawn
Friday, April 14th: Jathan & Heather


  1. I love your idea of sending this gift to congresspeople - hopefully some of them will read it!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

  2. That sounds timely and fascinating. I think I'd love it.

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