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Center for Public Health and Human Rights

About

Our mission is bringing the tools of public health research to fulfill the rights of the world’s most disadvantaged people to health and human dignity.

We investigate the impact of human rights abrogations on the health of populations and develop rights-based approaches to public health challenges. We endeavor to bring the tools of population-based sciences to bear on complex health and rights interactions. And we brings human rights law to bear on some of the great challenges to human dignity and public health, from exclusion of marginalized people from services to the protection of health workers in war to the prevention of torture.

Our work takes place both internationally and within the United States. Research by our faculty and partners has shown that the world’s most serious epidemics and other health challenges cannot be successfully addressed unless there is an end to the human rights violations committed against the world’s most marginalized people—the poor, sex workers, LGBT, migrants, refugees, drug users, prisoners, and people affected by war.

Based in the School's Department of Epidemiology and founded by Professor Chris Beyrer, MD, MPH ’91, the Center has assembled an interdisciplinary faculty and global partners to reveal these connections, empower people, and advance policy by government and global institutions to protect health and human rights.

We are committed to:

Rigorous science and cutting-edge research

We believe in the power of evidence-based research and information to bring about social change. Even in the face of the most extreme political persecution, violence and discrimination, people around the world are mobilizing to fight fear and prejudice with facts. The Center’s primary goal is to undertake research that will help disenfranchised communities in speaking truth to power.

Access to health care for the most vulnerable

Too often, governments neglect the health of the world’s most marginalized people. And yet it is these very people – such as women, the poor, people engaged in the sex trade, men who have sex with men, migrants and refugees, drug users and prisoners – who are most affected by disease and poor health. We believe that the world’s most serious epidemics and health challenges cannot be successfully addressed unless the rights of these communities to health care are protected and health programs are designed to meet their specific needs.

Real reductions in human rights abuses

The Center’s mission takes our faculty and students to some of the world’s poorest countries and most vulnerable communities where human rights abuses contribute to poor health care and the spread of epidemics. Through our focus on evidence-based public health interventions, we aim to contribute to real reductions in human rights abuse around the world.

Making an Impact 

Using vital data from our studies in Thailand, Russia, and several African countries, CPHHR has been working to advocate for the rights of various groups who have been discriminated against or excluded from public health surveillance and programs. Follow the link below to learn more about the CPHHR's recent research and advocacy work.