2011 (January – December)

December 2011

Sofia Gruskin fosters collaboration with Brazilian universities
Program on Global Health & Human Rights (GHHR) Director Sofia Gruskin traveled to Brazil in December after being invited by the University of Sao Paulo and the Federal University of Bahia to determine areas for future collaboration. Gruskin, who moved from the Harvard School of Public Health to establish GHHR at the University of Southern California Institute for Global Health in 2011, has worked in Brazil for more than 15 years. Read full story »

November 2011

Professor Gruskin, Director of the Program on Global Health and Human Rights, has accepted to serve on the WHO Steering Group for Evidence on the Impact of Human Rights-Based approaches to Women’s Health and Children’s Health. The Steering Group will review the evidence and advise the Assistant Director-General for Family, Women’s and Children’s Health on next steps.

October 2011

The Program on Global Health and Human Rights has been working closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners to map out the health and rights related outcomes of the regulation of sexuality and sexual health around the world. Moving towards the final phase of the project, Professor Gruskin traveled to WHO Headquarters in Geneva to work on shaping the global report which is to be produced out of the legal, jurisprudential, policy and public health evidence gathered by researchers working on this project over the last several years.

Program on Global Health & Human Rights Lecture Series
The Program on Global Health and Human Rights (GHHR) presents, “Sexuality and Sexual Health: Human Rights and the Effects of Laws and Policies,” a discussion with Jane Cottingham, MS, former Team Coordinator for Gender, Reproductive Rights, Sexual Health and Adolescence at the Department of Reproductive Health and Research at the World Health Organization. Cottingham is also co-founder and former director of ISIS Women’s International Information and Communication Service. Her work involves collaborating with women’s health advocacy groups, policy-makers, government leaders, and scientists to ensure that women’s rights and gender perspectives are integrated into sexual and reproductive health research, policies and programmes at international, regional and national levels. For more information click here.

September 2011

Thirty years after the first cases of HIV were diagnosed in the US, high income countries continue to struggle to eradicate HIV. The legal and policy climate is key to the ability of people to access effective HIV prevention, care and support. Professor Gruskin, and GHHR staff member Chelsea Moore, traveled to Oakland to attend the High Income Countries Dialogue for The Global Commission on HIV and the Law. This Dialogue was the seventh and final of a series of regional dialogues, spanning the globe. Professor Gruskin serves as a member of the Technical Advisory Group to the Commission. The Commission was assembled to analyze existing evidence and generate new evidence on in the the impact of the legal and human rights climate on HIV prevention, care and support globally. As part of this effort, the Commission solicited submissions from civil society groups and individuals impacted by both enabling and obstructivelaws and practices in the context of HIV, and facilitated a dialogue between civil society and government officials. Some of the issues discussed at the High Income Countries Dialogue include: criminalization of transmission and/or exposure to HIV, laws surrounding sex work, intellectual property and access to treatment, laws surrounding drug use, and gender discrimination. See here for a blog post authored by the Dialogue facilitator Nisha Pillai. Audio from the Dialogue coming soon to this site!

July 2011

In July 2011, Professor Sofia Gruskin attended the third meeting of the Technical Advisory Group of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, which was held in Geneva. The aims of the meeting were to review progress, challenges and next steps for the Commission; and, provide advice to the Commission on key messages and recommendations. For information on the Technical Advisory Group of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, including its function and composition, please visit their website.

June 2011

In June 2011, Prof. Sofia Gruskin attended the editorial advisory board meeting for Reproductive Health Matters (RHM) in London. RHM is an independent charity, producing in-depth publications on reproductive and sexual health and rights for an international, multi-disciplinary audience. It aims to: 1) promote laws, policies, research and services that meet the sexual and reproductive health needs of women and men; 2) support women’s right to decide whether, when and how to have children; 3) motivate improvements in policy, services and practice; and 4) inspire new thinking and action in the field. The editorial advisory board consists of experts from across the globe who ensure the intellectual integrity of the journal and discuss and propose cutting-edge reproductive health issues for future publications and joint action. The substantive focus of this board meeting included the development of a research agenda examining the repoliticization of sexual and reproductive health and rights. This research agenda builds on discussions from earlier meetings, in particular a four-day meeting held in Malaysia in 2010 which brought together academics, activists, policymakers, donors and civil society representatives to address the fragmentation of the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights, and devise ways to reinvigorate interest in field. More information on the 2010 meeting can be accessed here, while the statement of purpose can be accessed here. Finally, the meeting report can be accessed here. The research agenda is forthcoming.

February 2011

Professor Gruskin, as an appointed member of the Institute of Medicine’s Committee for the Outcome and Impact Evaluation of Global HIV/AIDS Programs Implemented under the Lantos-Hyde Act of 2008 (PEPFAR), traveled to Washington DC to participate in the Committee’s Information Gathering Session. The Committee is congressionally-mandated to complete an assessment of the performance of United States-assisted global HIV/AIDS programs and provide an evaluation of the impact on health of prevention, treatment, and care efforts that are supported by United States funding. This includes multilateral and bilateral programs involving joint operations. Professor Gruskin is chair of the policy sub-committee. For more information please see the meeting report.

In February 2011, Prof. Sofia Gruskin attended the 14th Annual Meeting of the UNAIDS Monitoring and Evaluation Reference Group (MERG). The MERG was established in 1998 to advise UNAIDS on monitoring and evaluation (M&E) at all levels of the Programme. It plays a critical role in: 1) Harmonizing and setting international standards and norms that will facilitate coordination and strengthen M&E systems; 2) Reviewing and endorsing M&E policies, standards, indicators, and tools to ensure quality, enhance integration, and reduce redundancy; and, 3) Coordinating the global M&E agenda and convening ad-hoc Technical Working Groups, as needed. The aims of this 14th annual meeting included: a) reviewing and endorsing a set of global indicators that will be used to monitor and report on global and national responses to HIV and AIDS; b) discussing proposed mechanisms for optimizing and expanding global-level partnerships and collaborations on HIV-related evaluations; and c) discussing the preliminary recommendations regarding the integration of HIV and health system strengthening monitoring and evaluation and potential indicators, building on the existing processes and discussions. The MERG set out to compile a revised set of international indicators for monitoring and reporting national responses to HIV at global level; set concrete action steps for optimizing and expanding global-level partnerships and collaboration on HIV-related evaluations; and provide feedback on the preliminary recommendations for integration of HIV and health systems strengthening M&E and potential indicators, building on the existing processes and discussions. For more information on the Reference Group, please visit their website.

January 2011

From January 24-28, 2011, Prof. Gruskin was invited by RTI International’s Asia HIV Program to work with key partners and make a series of presentations on HIV and human rights in Asia. RTI organized the HIV and Human Rights Week in Bangkok, Thailand, which began with a two-day workshop to develop recommendations on incorporating a rights-based approach into Thailand’s new national HIV strategic plan for 2012–2016, which will replace the current National Plan for Strategic and Integrated HIV and AIDS Prevention and Alleviation 2007–2011. Prof. Gruskin gave the keynote presentation on how to effectively integrate human rights into HIV programming. She emphasized that national universal access targets should be informed by human rights and gender perspectives instead of total numbers alone, saying that this approach “emphasizes not only numbers but also who is gaining access (and who is not), how they are gaining access, and over what period of time.” In addition, Prof. Gruskin gave the keynote presentation, entitled “Legal and policy support for key populations living with and affected by HIV: Results from the UNGASS National Policy Composite Index (NCPI) and implications for work going forward,” at a moderated discussion on HIV, human rights and the law in Asia later that week bringing together government officials, donors and civil society partners working in the region. For more information, please visit the RTI International website