Virtually all significant global health topics raise challenging legal issues which are better understood and addressed when considered from a multidisciplinary basis. The University of Southern California’s Law & Global Health Collaboration advances scholarship and provides monthly lectures and public discussions at the intersection of law and global health.
We invite interested students, faculty and staff to partake in a free exchange of ideas and collaboration on these important topics.
Since 2016, and with the continuous support of the USC Research Collaboration Fund, the USC Law & Global Health Collaboration has stimulated multidisciplinary research and elevated work being done locally and globally, and has become known for cutting-edge and creative exploration of issues at the intersection of law and global health.
Secretariat & Steering Committee:
- Program on Global Health & Human Rights
- USC Institute on Inequalities in Global Health
- Steering Committee:
- Capron, Alexander (Gould School of Law, Keck School of Medicine)
- Ferguson, Laura (Keck School of Medicine)
- Gruskin, Sofia (Keck School of Medicine, Gould School of Law)
- Kaplan, Charles (Suzanne Dworak-Peck, Social Work)
- Mayer, Doe (School of Cinematic Arts and Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism)
- Peter Redfield (Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences)
- Lecture Series: Attend one of our free events. See the event list below.
- Email List: Interested in getting involved? Subscribe to our email list »
Self-Care Health, Law and Rights
Worldwide, people have been increasingly able to utilize health technologies in their homes and on their own, instead of having to rely on health professionals. These self-care interventions (SCIs) include injectable hormones, abortion pills, traditional medicines as well as tools and apps for self-treating, self-testing, and self-monitoring. The rapid proliferation of SCIs across many different areas raises concerns about equitable access and safe use, and many policymakers enforce policies haphazardly, lacking adequate evidence to adopt appropriate rules. Our key areas of concern include the provision of evidence for informed decision-making around self-care, linkage to care, and the needs and concerns of vulnerable and marginalized populations.
COVID Health, Law and Rights
Over the past year, the working group has been dedicated to explore new legal issues for transgender populations that COVID-19 has brought to light, including arrests in some countries for allegedly violating COVID-19 curfew rules based on gender. Alongside this discrimination, new laws making it impossible for people to change legal recognition of their gender have been passed in the name of COVID prevention.
In the context of COVID, the range of legal issues has grown exponentially. As existing and newly developed, laws, policies and regulations are being used by countries to guide COVID responses, the Law & Global Health Collaboration will seek to understand the impact of the range of policy responses countries are taking, their immediate impacts on vulnerable and marginalized populations around the world, and their broader implications for food and housing security, sexual and reproductive health and rights, access to health and social services, and health outcomes more generally.
We have started efforts within USC and community-based organizations to build partnerships and identify COVID-related activities and research at the intersection of law and health. As part of these efforts, LGHC organized a webinar on the impacts of COVID-19 on key and marginalized populations. Speakers from Kenya, Los Angeles and the United Nations addressed grassroots, national and global level responses to the harms caused by governmental actions in the name of Covid. This event was organized in collaboration with the USC Community Health Equity Solutions (CHES) and USC IIGH.
Transgender Law & Global Health Working Group
In recent years the emergence of highly visible transgender communities in countries around the world has brought to public attention the myriad forms of discrimination experienced by transgender people, the implications for their health, and the significance of national and subnational legal and policy environments in shaping their health outcomes. Committed to working with the transgender community, the Law & Global Health Collaboration is an active player in this field and strategically positioned to guide research that uniquely contributes to advancing transgender health and rights. LGHC’s increasing global reputation as an emerging leader on transgender law and health has resulted from the active engagement and collaboration of all of the disciplines and schools involved.
The Transgender Law and Global Health Working Group was first convened in the spring semester of 2019 with the goal of designing a research program and fostering further multidisciplinary collaboration across the various schools of USC of individuals engaged in transgender research and advocacy. The working group brins together key faculty and graduate students from the LGHC Steering Committee and Keck, Gould, Dworak-Peck, Dornsife, Annenberg, and CHLA; each member is an expert in their respective field(s) or actively engaged with transgender issues. To date, working group members have published in peer-reviewed journals and other media, developed research proposals, and mounted a number of highly visible and well-attended USC events.
With continued assistance and guidance from the LGHC Steering Committee, the working group is advancing research and policy development in important ways in countries and globally.
The 2018 revision to the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) removed “gender dysphoria” from the mental and behavioral disorders chapter and introduced “gender incongruence” to a new chapter on conditions related to sexual health. Officials at the World Health Organization (WHO) are beginning to work with the LGHC on mechanisms and guidelines to help countries implement the ICD-11 reclassification. In 2019, we were invited by the World Association for Sexual Health Conference to participate in a consultation meeting on a new initiative by WAS on trans health and rights. That meeting and the subsequent WAS congress were demonstrative of the timeliness of this research and gave the working group the opportunity to meet with other organizations to strategize about how to move from the strategic victory of the ICD-11 revisions vis-a-vis transgender health toward actual implementation.
LGHC engages our academic community and other parties through our public events, which bring together senior and junior faculty, post-docs, students, and others to take on projects of mutual interest. These public lectures and panels help us refine our thinking, engage collaborators, and generate interest around selected issues, particularly amongst students.
In 2020-2021, the USC Law & Global Health Collaboration focused on virtual convenings and meetings to advance our work around the legal, rights and regulatory issues around self-care interventions and technologies. In 2020, we determined a new thematic area to start exploring multidisciplinary work around COVID-19 and the legal and policy impact on vulnerable populations locally and around the globe.
- Conflicts Between Law and Public Trust in the Name of Public Health: COVID Experiences From Around the World
- Self-care and Health: The Interplay of Technologies, Ethics, and Human Rights – Are We Going Back to the Future, or is it a Whole New World?
- Addressing the Dual Challenges of Climate Change and COVID-19
Consistent with the activities in previous years, two research working groups are in place. The first concerns the health and rights of transgender populations and builds on work in previous years. The second is just launching this year and focuses on the legal and regulatory aspects of tech and self-care interventions. Information about upcoming events, as well as discussion summaries and other relevant documents and links from previous events, are included in the posts below.
- Plan C: Reframing Self-Managed Abortion as Empowering Rather than Dangerous
- Addressing gender, equity and marginalization in global health: moving from reductionism to complexity
In 2018-2019, the USC Law & Global Health Collaboration focused on the intersections of law and global health as it relates to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Following the Collaboration’s work of the last two years first on supporting the health and rights of transgender populations and then on the implications of the Trump administration’s policies, the series brought the two streams together to help us move towards research and action in the area of SRHR. Information about the 2018-2019 events, as well as discussion summaries and other relevant documents and links, are included in the posts below.
- Social Movements, Sexual Rights, and Reproductive Rights: #MeToo in Global Context
- Achieving Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Southern Africa
- Missing in Action? The United States & the Global Struggle for Sexual Rights
- Trojan Scholar Spotlight: Sexual & Reproductive Health and Rights at USC
- The Global Right to Health: Successes & Failures in the Fight Against Hate
- From Laws and Standards to Implementation of Interventions in Global Health: Human Rights in Praxis
- Sustainable Development Goals, HIV & Human Rights: Advancing Equality, Inclusion and Justice
In 2017-2018, the USC Law & Global Health Collaboration fostered evidence-based dialogue and research on the implications of the Trump administration’s policies on select law and health topics. From the local to the global, and from climate change to immigrant health, our speaker series helped to set a research agenda relevant to students and faculty from across USC. Information about the 2017-2018 events, as well as discussion summaries and other relevant documents and links, are included in the posts below.
- A Return to the Unfamiliar: A Time to Act
- Getting to the Heart of Stigma: A Key Element of the Global AIDS Response
- Participate in the 2022 Global Health Case Competition
- 2022 Global Health Case Competition Virtual Mixer
- Historical Perspectives on Health Inequality in Africa: Is There Light at the End of the Tunnel?
- When Climate Change is Everything, How Do We Manage the World and Leave No One Behind?
- USC leans into addressing health inequalities with the hire of global health and human rights leader Jonathan Cohen
- USC IIGH Fall Student Symposium
- USC IIGH addresses climate change and its impacts on human rights through global collaboration
- Un(Just) Recovery: Addressing COVID-Related Inequalities in Los Angeles
- Emotional Contagion in Times of COVID: From Fear to Hope
- Drones Course Ignites Participant’s Passion for Global Health
The 2016-2017 series introduced issues and challenges that arise at the intersection of transgender rights, law and global health. There were also several additional sessions explored a range of interests, including toxic stress. Information about the 2016-2017 events, as well as discussion summaries and other relevant documents and links, are included in the posts below.
- Toxic Stress, Human Rights and Health Equity: Local and Global Implications for Research
- In Transition: Gender [Identity], Law & Global Health Research Symposium
- Transgender Youth Care in the New Millennium
- Generating Research to Support Transgender Populations
- Legal and Other Barriers to Protection for Transgender Asylum-Seekers in the US
- Maximizing Sexual Health & Rights of Transgender Populations: The Changing Role of the International Classification of Diseases
- In Transition: Gender [Identity], Law & Global Health
- Q&A: “Social Movements, Sexual Rights, and Reproductive Rights” with Pardis Mahdavi April 25, 2019
- Q&A: “The United States & the Global Struggle for Sexual Rights” with Dennis Altman April 25, 2019
- Q&A: “Achieving Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Southern Africa” with Justice Oaguile Dingake April 25, 2019
- Q&A: “From Laws and Standards to Implementation of Interventions in Global Health” with Rajat Khosla March 21, 2019
- Q&A: “Sustainable Development Goals, HIV & Human Rights” with Mandeep Dhaliwal and Jeff O’Malley March 15, 2019
- Trump’s policies could ravage global health progress, experts say September 27, 2017
- Law School Hosts Discussion about Transgender Health October 28, 2016
- Law and Global Health Working Group receives USC Collaboration Fund award August 10, 2016
- USC law + global health working group builds on momentum June 23, 2015
- Resource Kit: Ensuring the sexual and reproductive health and rights of transgender populations October 8, 2018
- “In transition: ensuring the sexual and reproductive health and rights of transgender populations.” A roundtable discussion August 2, 2018
- No “Shared Governance” Without Attention to Law, Broadly Conceived October 4, 2016
For two years, beginning in 2014, an exploratory working group of faculty from across the University established the groundwork for the current collaboration. They began by approaching a single topic—the criminalization of HIV transmission—through a multidisciplinary lens.
The group discovered broad commonalities in terms of content and concerns no matter the topic—the importance of how laws are implemented; public health and societal effects; the use of the narrative in framing reference to law; and the relevance of cultural constructs both in how we conceive research questions and how we understand results.
Below are minutes from the meetings that took place during the working group phase.
Law & Global Health Working Group Participants:
Baezconde-Garbanati, Lourdes; Boyd-Judson, Lyn; Capron, Alexander; Cousineau, Michael; Cruz, David; Ferguson, Laura; Finch, Caleb; Garry, Hannah; Gotsis, Marientina; Gruskin, Sofia; Kaplan, Charles; Kumar, Shubha; Lakoff, Andrew; Levine, Peg; Lewis, LaVonna; Mayer, Doe; Palinkas, Lawrence; Peet, Jessica; Renteln, Alison; Rodriguez, Yaneth; Rose, Adam; Samet, Jonathan; Sood, Neeraj; Wipfli, Heather; Withers, Mellissa