2012 (January – December)

December 2012

USC examines decisions of pregnant HIV-positive women
Living longer with the aid of antiretroviral therapy, HIV-positive women are facing unprecedented challenges when it comes to making decisions about pregnancy and childbearing. A USC-led project headed by Sofia Gruskin aims to ensure HIV-positive women are at the center of decision-making regarding their sexual and reproductive health and rights. Reproductive Health Matters, an international peer-reviewed journal, posted “Pregnancy decisions of women living with HIV,” a series of online articles in December. Full story »

Professor Laura Ferguson contributes to WHO consultation on global guidelines for prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission
Professor Laura Ferguson is working with the HIV/AIDS Department of the World Health Organization to inform revisions of the WHO’s Global Guidelines for the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT). Recently, she conducted a systematic literature review to collect evidence on the current state of knowledge in this area. The systematic review specifically examined literature on women’s experiences in PMTCT services and how these may impact their uptake of HIV-related services. It highlighted that a better understanding of women’s experiences of and perspectives on current and proposed interventions and how these influence subsequent care-seeking behaviour is required to inform an appropriate and acceptable package of PMTCT services and to facilitate the virtual elimination of mother-to child HIV transmission. These findings are being presented at an international WHO consultation on revisions to the global guidelines to be held in Switzerland.

November 2012

Sexual and reproductive health and rights experts launch global research network
USC hosted nine international experts from Nov. 27 to 30 to discuss the state of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) around the world and to launch an international research network.The group comprised researchers, activists and professors based in Belgium, Brazil, Cambodia, India, Malaysia, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States. The USC visit was organized because of longstanding collaborations with Professor Sofia Gruskin. Read the full story »

Program on Global Health & Human Rights participates in UN human rights meeting
Professors Laura Ferguson and Sofia Gruskin traveled to Geneva, Switzerland, Oct. 30-31 to participate in an expert consultation in preparation for the United Nations Human Rights Council’s 2013 Day of General Discussion, which will focus on the child’s right to health. The meeting continued GHHR’s collaboration with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, a partnership focused on promoting the right to health for children and adolescents globally. Ferguson presented background research on the topic that is designed to guide the 2013 Day of General Discussion. Learn more about the Committee on the Rights of the Child »

The impacts of AIDS movements on the policy responses to HIV/AIDS in Brazil and South Africa: A comparative analysis
Sofia Gruskin co-authored a comparative analysis on the impact of AIDS movements on policy responses in Brazil and South Africa. The article was published in Global Public Health. Download the article (PDF) »

Vietnamese human rights officials discuss collaboration with USC
Vietnamese delegates visited USC Nov. 12-13 to discuss collaboration opportunities with the university to further their country’s human rights research, policy and training efforts. Dang Dung Chi, director of the Vietnamese Institute of Human Rights at Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics and Public Administration, and senior lecturer Nghia Van Hoang, were invited to USC by Sofia Gruskin. Read the full story »

Professor Gruskin delivers talk at Columbia University
Sofia Gruskin was invited to Columbia University for the launching of Columbia’s Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health. The new center is a World Health Organization collaborating center for bioethics. She participated in the inaugural symposium entitled Passing Judgment: The Roles of Bioethics, Public Health Ethics, and Human Rights Policy, where she spoke on the need to recognize the distinct contributions of ethics and human rights, and focused on the value of human rights for bringing a legal framework to global health issues. View the symposium agenda (PDF) »

October 2012

Professor Gruskin Attends WHO Consultation on Sexual Health, Human Rights and the Law
Professor Sofia Gruskin traveled to the World Health Organization (WHO) Headquarters in Geneva to participate as an invited expert in a Technical Consultation on Sexual Health, Human Rights, and the Law. The purpose of the meeting was to move forward on the development of a comprehensive report on the health and human rights outcomes of regulation of sex and sexuality around the world. The overarching objective of the report is to accelerate progress towards meeting internationally agreed health targets and ultimately to attain the highest achievable standard of sexual and reproductive health through close examination of the role of laws and policies in regards to human rights, sexuality and sexual health. Professor Gruskin has been working closely with the WHO and other partners over the last several years to collect, analyze and write-up the legal, jurisprudential, policy and public health evidence which was discussed at the meeting.

September 2012

Professor Gruskin facilitates collaborations in Mexico
Professor Sofia Gruskin traveled to Mexico City where she was hosted by Sofia Charvel, professor and director of the Law and Health Program at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM). During her stay Professor Gruskin helped build foundations for future collaborations between USC and ITAM. In addition, Professor Gruskin delivered a well-received lecture entitled, “Realigning Government Action with Public Health Evidence: The Legal and Policy Environment Affecting Sex Work and HIV.”

Professor Gruskin publishes chapter in Portuguese health and human rights book
Professor Sofia Gruskin authored the chapter entitled, “Um Panorama Sobre Saúde e Direitos Humanos,” an Overview of Health and Human Rights. The chapter explores the historical movement to link health and human rights, as well as the current context. The book, Vulnerabilidade e Direitos Humanos: Prevenção e Promoção da Saúde, Vulnerability and Human Rights: Health Prevention and Promotion, is available in Portuguese, and covers a wide range of topics in health and human rights.

July 2012

Program on Global Health & Human Rights Contributes to 2012 International AIDS Conference
Professors Sofia Gruskin and Laura Ferguson, and project specialist Chelsea Moore participated in the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C. Read more »

Professor Gruskin contributes to landmark HIV Law Report
Professor Sofia Gruskin served as a member of the technical advisory group for a landmark report released on July 9 by the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, a high-level, independent body of global public leaders and field experts that launched in June 2010. Read the story »

Gruskin visits DC for PEPFAR committee
Professor Sofia Gruskin traveled to Washington, D.C., for the Institute of Medicine’s committee for the Evaluation of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). PEPFAR was authorized under the United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act of 2003. The act authorized more than $15 billion over five years for bilateral and multilateral programs to prevent HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis infections and to treat and care for people infected with and affected by these diseases. Professor Gruskin serves as an appointed member of this committee.

Professor Sofia Gruskin visits DC for IOM committee
Professor Sofia Gruskin traveled to Washington, D.C., for the Institute of Medicine’s committee for the Evaluation of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). PEPFAR was authorized under the United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act of 2003. The act authorized more than $15 billion over five years for bilateral and multilateral programs to prevent HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis infections and to treat and care for people infected with and affected by these diseases. Professor Gruskin serves as an appointed member of this committee.

June 2012

Professor Laura Ferguson teaches in short course at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Professor Laura Ferguson traveled to London to teach in a short course at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine titled, Adolescent Health in Low and Middle Income Countries. The course was organized by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the World Health Organization in collaboration with the Obafemi Awolowo University, lle-lfe, Nigeria and the Public Health Foundation of India. The fifteen participants, from ten different countries, included program implementers as well as policy advisors. The course emphasizes the importance of investing in the health and development of adolescents, examines the specific health challenges faced by adolescents, and works with participants to help build capacity to address adolescent health in their own organizations. Professor Ferguson, who has extensive experience in the fields of child and adolescent health and human rights, taught the section on Adolescents’ Rights, Vulnerability and Diversity.

Professor Sofia Gruskin participates in annual editorial board meeting of the journal Reproductive Health Matters
Professor Sofia Gruskin attended the annual board meeting of the journal Reproductive Heath Matters as a long time member of the journal’s editorial board. Reproductive Health Matters is the leading international journal committed to covering issues around reproductive and sexual health and rights. In celebrating the 20th anniversary of the journal, participants reflected on the past and took the opportunity to look forward, creating a strategic vision for the future. Board members, many of whom have been involved since the inception of the journal in 1992, shared its history, and the broader history surrounding its evolution, and discussed progress and current challenges in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights.

In the News: “Biomed Analysis: Time for rights-based women’s health”
Via Science and Development Network: “Sofia Gruskin, director of the Program on Global Health and Human Rights at the Institute for Global Health, University of Southern California, said the tunnel vision on maternal health has sidelined other sexual health issues…” Read the full editorial by Priya Shetty here.

Program on Global Health & Human Rights forges partnership on child and adolescent health and rights
Building on previous collaborations, Professors Sofia Gruskin and Laura Ferguson are strengthening linkages with the World Health Organization, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Save the Children International and World Vision. The Program on Global Health and Human Rights will officially partner with those organizations to strengthen work in the area of child and adolescent health and rights. Plans for future collaboration include regional training workshops on child rights in relation to health, the creation of tools to facilitate the realization of the child’s right to health and preparation for the Human Rights Council’s 2013 Day of General Discussion on child health.

Professor Gruskin Travels to Nairobi to Present Project Findings
The Program on Global Health & Human Rights has been working with The Open Society Institute on using human rights concepts and methods as part of a systematic approach to monitoring and evaluation of public health projects. The project, “Evaluating the Impact of Integrating Legal Support and Health Care,” evaluates and documents work to integrate legal support into healthcare as a way of advancing the health and human rights of socially marginalized groups. The project worked with four Kenyan NGOs to evaluate the impact of these projects in order to both inform work of the Open Society Foundations and to advocate for the scale-up of integrated services by national governments and donors. This May, Professor Gruskin traveled to Nairobi, Kenya, to present the findings to local stakeholders. In addition to introducing the evaluation, Professor Gruskin delivered a key talk entitled, “The Effects of Legal Integration on Program Outcomes: Knowledge and Awareness, Service Provision, and Satisfaction with Services” as part of a meeting hosted by OSI entitled Access to Justice Eastern Africa Convening on Strengthening and Collaboration.

May 2012

Professor Sofia Gruskin discusses human rights in relation to gender and sexuality at Vermont Law School
Professor Sofia Gruskin, Director of the Program on Global Health and Human Rights (GHHR), participated in a one day conference hosted by Vermont Law School entitled A World of Change: Global Activism on LGBTI Issues. Professor Gruskin was invited, along with several of her former colleagues, to discuss their work on human rights in relation to gender and sexuality. Over 20 years ago, Professor Gruskin and her fellow conference speakers came together to develop Amnesty International’s work against human rights violations on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Across the day, they shared the early struggles in developing relevant international human rights standards, discussed their current work in the LGBTI movement, and addressed challenges for future advocacy. More information (PDF) »

Program on Global Health & Human Rights to organize first human rights track at population studies conference
Professor Sofia Gruskin has been invited by the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP) to organize a series of sessions for the 27th IUSSP International Population Conference to be held in South Korea in August 2013. The IUSSP’s mission is to draw the attention of governments, international governmental and non-governmental organizations, and the general public to population problems and the promotion of demography as a science. Professor Gruskin will convene a series of sessions under the general title “Population Policies and Human Rights”, which will be the first time an IUSSP Conference has formally taken on human rights and population policies within their agenda.

Professor Sofia Gruskin contributes to new human rights volume
The Right to Health: Theory and Practice (PDF), edited by Gunilla Backman, has just been released by Studentlitteratur Publishing. Professor Sofia Gruskin’s chapter in this edited volume examines the human rights implications of current responses to HIV and discusses challenges and ways forward, using Vietnam as a case study. The goal of the book is to lay a foundation for understanding the relationship between public health and human rights, with an explicit focus on the right to health. It can be ordered by visiting http://www.gazellebookservices.co.uk. The book will be available on Amazon.com in the Fall of 2012.

April 2012

The Program on Global Health and Human Rights Welcomes Laura Ferguson
The Program on Global Health & Human Rights (GHHR) and the Institute for Global Health (IGH) are very pleased to welcome their newest faculty member, Dr. Laura Ferguson. Dr. Ferguson earned her MSc in Population and International Health from the Harvard School of Public Health and her PhD from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Her work focuses on understanding and addressing health system and societal factors affecting the uptake of health services, and developing the evidence base of how attention to human rights can improve health outcomes. Dr. Ferguson has spent extended periods of time in developing country settings, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa, collaborating with partners, helping to build the capacity of her local colleagues, and designing and managing research and projects to tackle a broad range of issues including HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive health, and child health

Sofia Gruskin gives inaugural UNC Health and Human Rights Lecture
Program on Global Health & Human Rights Director Sofia Gruskin discussed the crucial intersection of human rights and global health on April 16 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. More about this event »

Sofia Gruskin attends American Journal of Public Health’s Spring Editorial Board Meeting
In March, Professor Sofia Gruskin, director of the Program on Global Health & Human Rights, traveled to Washington D.C. to attend the American Journal of Public Health’s (AJPH) Spring Editorial Board Meeting. Professor Gruskin has served on the Editorial Board of the Journal since 2001. AJPH, one of the leading public health journals, has been in existence over 100 years and is committed to raising the profile of global health and human rights issues.

March 2012

Program on Global Health and Human Rights Lecture Series
The Program on Global Health & Human Rights (GHHR) presents, “Collective Health: Brazil’s Expansion of the Public Health Model” & “Measuring Primary Health Care: What this Means for Hospital Admissions Rates,” talks by Brazilian colleagues, Maria Amélia de Sousa Mascenas Veras and Maria Inês Costa Dourado. Maria Amélia de Sousa Mascenas Veras is a faculty member in the Social Medicine Department of Santa Casa School of Medical Sciences in São Paulo, Brazil. She is also a member of the Epidemiology Advisory Board of the Brazilian National STI/AIDS Program, and works as a consultant for the Brazilian Ministry of Health and the Angolan National AIDS Program. Her research interests include the control of the HIV/AIDS epidemic (men who have sex with men, observational studies of AIDS-­related deaths, testing and counseling, and prevention), other sexually transmitted diseases, infectious diseases surveillance and vaccine studies. Maria Inês Costa Dourado is a faculty member at the Institute for Public and Collective Health at the Universidade Federal da Bahia (UFBA) in Salvador, Brazil. Maria Inês Dourado’s work focuses on the epidemiology of HIV/AIDS, HTLV, infectious diseases, and vaccines. Her current research includes qualitative and quantitative work of the effectiveness of influenza vaccination in preventing hospitalizations for respiratory diseases and the costs arising from these diseases, oral lesions in people infected with HIV/AIDS, and the impact of Haemophilus influenzae b (Hib) vaccine on hospitalization of children between six months and two years old. For more information click here.

Program on Global Health & Human Rights Hosts Roundtable on Public Health Education
The Program on Global Health & Human Rights (GHHR) hosted two leading Brazilian academics involved in the reform of Brazil’s public health teaching and training. Maria Amélia de Sousa Mascenas Veras is a faculty member in the Social Medicine Department of Santa Casa School of Medical Sciences in São Paulo, Brazil. Maria Inês Costa Dourado is a faculty member at the Institute for Public and Collective Health at the Universidade Federal da Bahia (UFBA) in Salvador, Brazil. The roundtable, “Reform in Public Health Education: Lessons From Brazil,” drew a wide range of USC faculty and students. It has helped facilitate collaborations between USC and the two Brazilian institutions represented.

GHHR hosts Mexican lawyer Sofia Charvel to discuss collaborations
The Program on Global Health & Human Rights (GHHR) hosted Sofia Charvel, a Mexican lawyer with the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM), where she created and directs one of the first Law and Health Programs in México. Charvel, GHHR, and the Institute for Global Health discussed potential programmatic and research collaborations, as well as the potential for joint teaching and training. She is Professor at ITAM of Public Law Institutions. Through the years she has worked as an advisor at the Mexican Ministry of Health , National Health Protection Commission (Popular Insurance/Seguro Popular), National Institute of Public Health and other government instances, where she participated in the development of the new General Health Law, and Tobacco Control legal work in Mexico, amongst others.

Sofa Gruskin shares insights on human rights, health for UNICEF
Sofia Gruskin, director of the Program on Global Health & Human Rights, provided expert commentary for UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre’s Research Watch regarding the interplay of equity, human rights, and health. Read the commentary on unicef-irc.org/research-watch »

February 2012

Program on Global Health & Human Rights Lecture Series
The Program on Global Health & Human Rights (GHHR) presents, “Working the System: Sexuality, Gender, Health and Human Rights at the United Nations,” a discussion with Cynthia Rothschild, an independent consultant in areas related to the United Nations, gender, sexual rights, HIV & AIDS and women’s human rights. In recent months, she has worked with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on its first-ever report related to sexual orientation and gender identity and with various NGOs on international advocacy. From 2005 – 2009, she was the Senior Policy Advisor at the Center for Women’s Global Leadership, a women’s human rights NGO based in the US. A trainer and sexual rights activist for over 20 years, she is the author of Written Out: How Sexuality is Used to Attack Women’s Organizing; and the co-author of Strengthening Resistance: Confronting Violence Against Women and HIV/AIDS. Her recent efforts include a focus on reform of the UN and the creation of UN Women (the new UN women’s agency), and engagement at the UN Human Rights Council, the Commission on the Status of Women and various global meetings on HIV&AIDS. The talk is sponsored by GHHR in collaboration with the Health Law and Bioethics Society and OUTLaw. For more information click here.

January 2012

Sofia Gruskin published in Global Public Health
Program on Global Health & Human Rights (GHHR) Director Sofia Gruskin’s article, titled “Human rights in health systems frameworks: What is there, what is missing and why does it matter?” was published online by the leading journal Global Public Health on Jan. 23, and will be published in the upcoming print edition. The article builds on recent work assessing the extent to which features compatible with the right to health are incorporated into national health systems, and examines how health systems frameworks have thus far integrated human rights concepts and human rights-based approaches to health in their conceptualization. Read the article on PubMed (subscription required for full access) »