The Health and Human Rights Oral History Project (HHROHP) is a growing archive of video testimonies from diverse figures in the health and human rights movement. The Project fills a critical gap in the modern history of public health by providing an inside view of the decisions, discussions, and dynamics behind some of the most impactful health and rights interventions of the past several decades.
The pilot phase of the HHROHP, launched in early 2022, is comprised of 30 oral histories from former staff and grantees of the Open Society Foundations’ Public Health Program, one of the many entities to apply an international human rights framework to policy and practice in public health, as well as other key pioneers in the field of health and human rights. Our vision is to create an archive that continues to grow as other organizations, institutes, and individuals are inspired to add their own oral histories that deepen our collective understanding of the global health space.
The HHROHP is a growing project with an aim to inspire others to create their own oral histories and contribute to deepening knowledge of global public health and human rights. The second phase of the project, currently underway, is a partnership between the USC Institute on Inequalities in Global Health and the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. This phase of the HHROHP seeks to interrogate the methodology used to construct the the first part of the project, as well as explore and extrapolate what questions are answered by the oral history collection thus far, what questions remain, and how we can continue to strengthen and deepen the archive.
Browse the collection
Hover over an individual below to navigate directly to their full oral history video, transcript, and other archival material housed at the USC Digital Library. You can also search the complete HHROHP archive directly in the USDL system, and discover material based on keywords, geographies, and content type.
Former staff and grantees of the Open Society Foundations’ Public Health Program
SCENE SETTING INTERVIEWS
GO BEHIND THE SCENES
Learn about the process of building the Health and Human Rights Oral History Project, from the student interviewers who made it possible.
Situate yourself within the larger context of the health and human rights movement and uncover some of the hidden histories contained within the first 30 interviews of the Health and Human Rights Oral History Project.
The Open Society Institute is founded
Later renamed the Open Society Foundations, philanthropist George Soros creates a singular organization with a mission to promote democracy and human rights worldwide.
The birth of FOKAL
The Foundation on Knowledge and Liberty (FOKAL) is founded to support programs for the Haitian population in the fields of education, development, and arts and culture. Hear more from Michele Pierre Louis.
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) is established to streamline and advocate for global action towards the spread of HIV/AIDS.
The Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines, created by Médecins Sans Frontières, is launched to increase availability of essential medicines to Global South countries by lowering the prices of existing drugs, vaccines, and diagnostic tests. Hear more from Robert Weissman.
Creation of the MDGs
The UN establishes the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) intended to address major challenges facing human development and health globally.
Launch of PEPFAR
The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is launched by George W. Bush to provide antiretroviral treatment to HIV patients in resource-limited settings.
OSF’s Sexual Health and Rights Program (SHARP) publishes findings on global funding for sex workers’ health and rights organizations and identifies major gaps in resource provision.
The Roma Health Scholarship Program is established providing 60 Roma students from Bulgaria, Macedonia, Romania, and Serbia with resources to pursue medical and pharmaceutical studies. Learn more from Marine Buissonniere.
OSF releases an official statement calling for amendments to Polish drug policy, including the decriminalization of possession of small quantities of drugs for personal use. Hear more from Daniel Wolfe and Kasia Malinowska.
President Obama signs the FY2012 omnibus spending bill which reinstates a federal funding ban on needle exchange programs.
The U.S. Supreme Court rules that requiring non-governmental organizations to institute an explicit anti-prostitution policy in order to receive federal funding violates the First Amendment. Learn more from Francoise Girard.
Mozambique takes out $2.08 billion in loans meant for supporting its maritime security and tuna-fishing economy. It is later revealed that the Mozambique public did not benefit from any of the loans, resulting in a string of fraud convictions for government officials. Hear more from Denise Namburete.
The Strategic Advisory Group (SAG) is formed following Ukraine’s Maidan Revolution, also known as the Revolution of Dignity. The SAG will go on to remake and reimagine Ukraine’s primary healthcare system. Hear more from Pavlo Kovtoniuk.
Open Society leaves Russia
OSF is declared an “undesirable organization” in Russia, limiting its capacity for aid and inducing risk upon its operations, as well as barring Russian nationals from associating with OSF. Hear more from Nina Schwalbe.
The Gender Accordance Act, drafted in 2012 by Polish LGBTQI-rights organization Trans-Fuzja, is passed in the Polish parliament. This act is the first piece of gender recognition legislation to pass in Polish history and gives citizens the right to legal recognition of their gender identity. Hear more from Wiktor Dynarski.
The UN builds on the MDGs to create 17 interconnected Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved by 2030.
HIV/AIDS in Russia
HIV prevalence reaches between 0.8-1.0% of the Russian population, indicating that the HIV epidemic in Russia is one of the fastest growing in the world. Hear more from Mikhail Golichenko.
The Nairobi Strategy on Tuberculosis and Human Rights is created with specific objectives and activities to implement a human rights-based approach to TB at the global, regional, national, and local levels. Learn more from Allan Maleche.
The Trump administration reinstates the global gag rule, which prevents any non-governmental organization that provides abortion care or information related to abortion from recieving U.S. federal funding.
The WHO designates COVID-19 as a pandemic; nations instate lockdown procedures and international travel bans.
The European Commission launches the EU Roma Strategic Framework which centers the promotion of equality, inclusion, participation, education, employment, health, and housing for Roma populations. Hear more from Maja Saitovic.
The U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, removing federal protections for abortion care.