Health and Human Rights (Winter 2006)

  • Author: Beth E. Riven, MD, MPH and Patricia C. Kuszler, MD,JD, University of Washington School of Law


“Health and Human Rights” course addresses the leading issues in global health and international human rights through case-based teaching and active student participation. The course approaches global health and justice from a variety of perspectives, including human rights doctrine, global bioethics, public health policy, and international and national law. Classes examine the linkage between health and human rights by analyzing the meaning of the right to health, vis-à-vis other human rights. The right to health as framed by international treaties and covenants will be considered in light of the three main regional legal enforcement mechanisms and through cases exemplifying enforcement of the right to health in each. The course considers a variety of case studies and issues, focusing on vulnerable populations (children, women, PLWA, IV drug abuse, the disabled, the poor) and specific population health threats (emerging infections, environmental hazards, access barriers to drugs and pharmaceuticals). Other topics of study include the role of humanitarian aid, NGOs, medical neutrality, and truth and reconciliation commissions in furthering the right to health and enhancement of human rights.

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