The work of GHHR is to document examples of how human rights-based approaches to health make a greater positive difference to the lives of individuals and populations in a variety of areas.
Director, Program on Global Health & Human Rights
Research Director, USC Institute on Inequalities in Global Health
The Program on Global Health & Human Rights (GHHR), an integral component of the USC Institute on Inequalities in Global Health, is at the forefront of expanding research in the field of health and human rights, and is a leader in developing tools for analysis, programmatic intervention, monitoring and evaluation. At this juncture in the history of the health and human rights field, the need to strengthen health systems and demonstrate the effectiveness of using human rights to address public health challenges both within and outside the health system has never been more urgent. The work of GHHR is to document examples of how human rights-based approaches to health make a greater positive difference to the lives of individuals and populations in a variety of areas, including HIV, sexual and reproductive health, child and adolescent health and health systems strengthening. GHHR emphasizes the conceptual, methodological, policy and practice implications of linking health to human rights, with particular attention to women, children, gender issues, and vulnerable populations.
Director Professor Laura Ferguson has worked at the intersection of global health and human rights for 20 years, first in the non-profit sector and, for the last 15 years, in academia. Focused on developing the evidence base of how attention to human rights can improve health outcomes, she guides GHHR in developing innovative methodologies that help shed light on how structural and societal interventions operate to impact people’s health and lives.
GHHR has always been at the cutting edge of the field of global health and human rights, pushing conceptual boundaries and creating products with immediate practical application. All of our research is designed to inform and promote positive change in the world. Strengthening the evidence base that systematic attention to human rights can improve all different areas of health across diverse populations is essential to promoting rights-based responses to health concerns. Moving forward, GHHR continues to build on our experience with the assessment and evaluation of health-related human rights. Methodological challenges abound: causal pathways are complex, quantitative models inadequate and qualitative data alone all-too-often unpersuasive. Multi-disciplinary, mixed-methods research grounded in equitable partnerships with communities and other collaborators everywhere we work is critical to developing appropriate methodologies and models. GHHR aims to learn with its partners to inform policies and interventions at global, regional, national and local levels that will ultimately create benefits in people’s health and lives, particularly among the most vulnerable populations.
Global health professional and lawyer for 25 years, Professor Sofia Gruskin has long been at the forefront of expanding research in the field of global health. In 1997 she developed the core Program on International Health and Human Rights (PIHHR) at the Harvard School of Public Health. The Program was widely recognized as a leader in developing and testing practical approaches – products such as training modules, assessment and evaluation instruments, and analytical guides – that fully integrate human rights into the work of public health, including program design, implementation, and evaluation. Development of such tools is critical to validating the essential links between health and human rights and to improving the delivery of services and health outcomes. PIHHR grew in dynamic ways to further understanding of the interactions between health and human rights and has applied this knowledge to the development of public health policy and practice. This work expanded at USC with the creation of GHHR in 2011. In the period since, the GHHR continued to strengthen the practical application of human rights to public health programming in a variety of ways—from the design and implementation of specific analytic and programmatic tools to conducting trainings in various areas of health and human rights.
In 2018, Laura Ferguson agreed to lead GHHR, and the rest is history!