The Joseph H. Flom Global Health and Human Rights Initiative
The Initiative is now accepting applications for its Global Health and Human Rights Fellowship starting in August 2007. The application deadline is December 15, 2006.
The Joseph H. Flom Global Health and Human Rights Initiative at Harvard Law School is a new partnership between the Human Rights Program and the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics. The Initiative will promote academic research, as well as engagement in practical measures related to that research, for the purpose of bringing a legal perspective to bear on the development and application of global public health and human rights norms.
Global health has become the focus of international political attention as infectious diseases (HIV/AIDS, SARS and avian flu) have overwhelmed national borders and budgets. Humanitarian catastrophes, both natural (the 2005 tsunami) and man-made (the Darfur genocide), and chronic epidemics (obesity or tobacco-related) also have served to generate renewed interest in matters of global health. Governments, intergovernmental agencies and many non-governmental organizations are coming to recognize the efficacy of coordinated strategies and cooperative action in addressing health concerns that transcend national boundaries. Human rights can provide a coherent and effective framework for international solutions. Virtually every nation is party to at least one international health-related human rights treaty that makes its government accountable for promoting and protecting the health of its population.
A combined approach to global health and human rights targets the causes and effects of disease and disaster. Such an approach might examine whether the burden of illness is undermining a country's development efforts and propose solutions consonant with human rights obligations. It might study the underlying determinants of illness--poor health systems, lack of sanitation and clean water, malnutrition, poverty--and develop strategies to alleviate those conditions. Or it might consider how the behavior of non-state actors, such as pharmaceutical companies and health professionals, can promote global health and rights or hinder their enjoyment.
These are but some of the myriad ways that global health concerns can be framed, analyzed and addressed through human rights. Although this field has been evolving over the past 20 years, much remains to be done to promulgate and implement global norms and standards.
Working in collaboration, the Human Rights Program and the Petrie-Flom Center are well-positioned to inject a legal perspective that has the potential to offer an unparalleled contribution to the articulation and application of global public health and human rights norms. Recognizing that the field of global health and human rights is far from settled, the Global Health and Human Rights Initiative will pursue no predetermined agenda nor will it advocate for any particular political outcome.
ORGANIZATION AND LEADERSHIP
The Human Rights Program is an academic and clinical program that seeks to give impetus and direction to international human rights work at Harvard Law School. Now in its twenty-third year, the Program fosters course work and participation of students in human rights activities through its summer internships, clinical work, speaker series, applied research and scholarship. The Program brings into the law school the worldwide problems of the powerless and abused, problems at the core of much internal and international conflict. It forges cooperative links with a range of human rights organizations in this country and abroad, and works closely with student organizations. The Human Rights Program is chaired by Ryan Goodman, J. Sinclair Armstrong Assistant Professor of International, Foreign, and Comparative Law and directed by James Cavallaro, Clinical Director and Clinical Professor of Law, and Mindy Jane Roseman, Academic Director and Lecturer.
The Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics is a new interdisciplinary research program at Harvard Law School launched in the fall of 2005. The Petrie-Flom Center is dedicated to the scholarly research of important issues about the intersection of law and health policy, including issues of health care financing and market regulation, biomedical research, and bioethics. The activities of the Center include sponsoring student and post-graduate fellowship programs, funding research projects and holding conferences and workshops. The Petrie-Flom Center is led by Faculty Director Einer Elhauge, Carroll and Milton Petrie Professor of Law.
The core mission of the project will be carried out through a joint fellowship program, annual conferences, and research projects.
Global Health Fellows--Starting in 2007, the Initiative will sponsor a fellow with expertise in global health and human rights. The fellow will lead research or clinical projects and provide the support and continuity necessary for the Initiative to undertake complex, long-term projects.
Conferences--The Initiative will plan and host major conferences on global health and human rights. These conferences will build off of the projects of the Global Health Fellow and students, and will convene academics, practitioners, policymakers and leaders from around the world.
Research Projects--The Initiative will also look to fund promising research projects on global health and human rights.
POTENTIAL AREAS OF FOCUS
- Protection for human subjects in drug trials: examination of the intersection of international ethical codes and human rights.
- Access to life saving medications: elaboration of governmental obligations under international human rights, trade and intellectual property law.
- Health professionals and dual loyalties: research into ethical and legal obligations of health providers in the military and other institutions.
- New biotechnologies: comparison of international, regional and national regulations on the issues presented by biotechnology in the context of human rights and ethics. (e.g., cloning, genetically modified organisms, DNA testing).