New Book by Tom Koch
In Disease Maps: Epidemics on the Ground (University of Chicago Press, 2011) medical geographer Tom Koch makes a new, and important argument: It is in the mapping of individual cases of illness as group events that we have come to understand disease as a public thing affecting general populations. Maps become, in this telling, the workbench on which a collection of individual cases are combined to create a single health event, seen in place. It is thus in the mapping, and the environmental thinking that mapping promotes, that theories about this or that disease (and health in general) are first formulated and then tested.
New Republic Review
New Book by Tom Koch
In Thieves Of Virtue: When Bioethics Stole Medicine (MIT Press 2012), Tom Koch questions the "founding myths" of bio-ethics by which moral philosophers became practical ethicists serving as adjudicators of medical practice and planning. High philosophy, he argues, does not provide a guide to the practical dilemmas that arise at the bedside of sick patients. Nobody, he writes, carries Kant to a clinical consult.
Tom Koch works in and has published popular and technical works in these areas:
Elder care and gerontology, medical and general ethics (euthanasia, organ transplantation,
life crises, disability, etc.), disease mapping and medical geography, home care of the fragile,
cycling and transportation, news and online information.
For twenty years Tom Koch has published books and articles-popular and professional-on the issues of health and illness informed by his practical work. In the field of elder care and disability, he pioneered the use of life narratives as a vehicle for the examination of the issues of age, fragility, and change. The first to explore the perspective of the home-based caregiver (Mirrored Lives 1990), Dr. Koch has worked with over 150 caring families and written about their perspectives and concerns (A Place in Time, 1993). That work lead to the considerations of non-geriatric lives and narratives (Watersheds, 1994, and Second Chances, 1998), of people facing other fundamental medical and social challenges. In 2000 his third book on elder care, Age Speaks for Itself, offered a series of narratives by fragile seniors as well as a commentary on advancing age from the perspective of fragile seniors themselves.
As a research associate in bioethics at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, Prof. Koch directed a pilot program using multicriterion decision making to develop policy in areas of bioethical uncertainties. These programs were the basis for his book, The Limits of Principle (1998), and offer a new approach to community involvement in bioethical debates. As a bioethicist practically involved in issues of care for the fragile he has written, lectured, and debated issues in the area of disability rights, euthanasia, genetics, and organ transplantation policy.
In Cartographies of Disease: Maps, Mapping, and Medicine (2005) Dr. Koch anchored the history of infectious disease studies with the history of medical maps used for 300 years in the study of disease. The result provided both a history of medical mapping and of social perspectives on environmental contributors to the occurrence of infectious disease. This work followed upon a study of ethical debates based upon the "defense of necessity" and "human nature" whose legal origins arise in a landmark nineteenth century case. The Wreck of the William Brown (2004) was an attempt to reevaluate "lifeboat ethics" in the story of the seminal case, US v Holmes, in 1842.
A former daily news reporter and editor (CBC, UPI, newspapers and magazines), he is a respected authority on journalism and medical reportage. His best-known works in this area concerns the relationship between online resources and public information. In a series of articles and books (The News as Myth, 1990; Journalism for the 21st Century, 1992; and The Message Is the Medium, 1996), Dr Koch has presented both a unique analysis of news as public information, and the place of online resources in journalism. In the mid-1990's he created a program on electronic data and journalism for the European Journalism Centre, Maastricht, The Netherlands.
Professor Koch is currently the director of Information Outreach, Ltd. Based in Toronto, ON, Canada. The company offers primary research and public education services. Tom Koch is currently available through IOL for both speaking and research projects.