The Center for Public Health and Human Rights at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health was born of the realization that human rights contexts can have profound impacts on the health of individuals, communities and populations.
Founded in April 2004, one of the key insights the Center operates from the perspective of the Center is that population-level violations of human dignity and the right to health require population-based methods to measure their effects and innovative public health approaches to minimize their consequences. The Center recognizes, too, that human rights principles must be brought to bear in addressing public health challenges in armed conflict, and in the roles health and public health practitioners play in circumstances where severe human rights violations take place. Toward these ends, the Center is interdisciplinary in a unique partnership of epidemiology, law, and partnership with human rights advocates worldwide. The Center partners with grassroots organizations, human rights groups, and public health researchers and practitioners to address the needs of underserved minorities, ethnic groups facing state violence and discrimination, and stigmatized groups at risk for HIV/AIDS and other epidemic threats.
The teaching activities of the Center are many and varied. In addition to the courses of Center director Chris Beyrer, MD, MPH, the Center has worked with students from the undergraduate to the postdoctoral level, from the classroom to the field. Advocacy for change is essential in human rights work, and to that end, training in advocacy skills is a significant part of the Center’s educational mission.
The integration of human rights perspectives and approaches into public health means using the results of our research and policy efforts to try and improve the health and rights situations for those we seek to serve.