Harvard Program on International Health and Human Rights

General Information
The Program on International Health and Human Rights promotes practical and effective responses to global public health challenges through the innovative application of human rights. In particular, the Program is at the forefront of expanding research in the field of health and human rights, and is a leader in developing health and human rights tools for analysis, programmatic intervention, monitoring and evaluation.
The work of the Program on International Health and Human Rights 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. The main areas of focus for the Program include, but are not limited to: HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive health, child and adolescent health and health system strengthening.

Main Activities
The Program on International Health and Human Rights (PIHHR) conducts its mission through a combination of the following activities:

  • Research: Given the uniqueness of the health and human rights field, the Program aims to expand and strengthen the field of health and human rights by clarifying the value of application of human rights norms and standards for addressing the underlying determinants of health, improving the delivery of health services, and ultimately impacting health outcomes. Towards this end, the PIHHR conducts research-focused activities within the field of health and human rights and disseminates lessons learned from these efforts through activities such as conferences and consultations, and producing a wide range of publications.
  • Education: The PIHHR is closely linked to health and human rights teaching and professional activities both nationally and internationally. In addition to academic courses at the Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard School of Public Health, the Program staff engages in educational activities with partners in universities and nongovernmental organizations around the world that contribute to the development of health and human rights education. Recent international collaborations have taken place in Australia, Kenya, and Vietnam. The Program also hosts self-funded fellows and interns throughout the year. Prof. Sofia Gruskin, who spearheads the educational and training aspects of the Program also serves as co-director of the interdisciplinary concentration on Women, Gender and Health at the Harvard School of Public Health.
  • Capacity-building and training: Program staff work closely with international agencies, non-governmental organizations, universities and others to conduct trainings that teach participants to fully integrate health and human rights concepts into programming and policy efforts in a variety of public health areas.
  • Policy development: The Program collaborates with governments, international agencies and non-governmental organizations to assist in policy development and programming initiatives with the aim of integrating human rights and health issues and concerns into relevant health processes and systems.

Contact Information
Address: Harvard School of Public Health, 665 Huntington Ave, 1-1202, Boston, MA 02115, USA
Telephone: + 1 (617) 432 4314
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Latest News

  • Unfulfilled healthcare needs of migrant women care workers

    careOn November 21, a high-level panel at a meeting convened in Geneva will discuss a new WHO report entitled "Women on the Move: Migration, care work and health". Available data shows that a substantial and growing proportion of care work is being undertaken by migrants, the majority of whom are women. In Italy for instance, nearly 90% of home-based caregivers are foreign born. In this report, the World Health Organization (WHO) calls attention "to a global situation in which migrant women care workers buttress health systems in countries where there are shortfalls in healthcare provision, while their own right to health is eroded and their health care needs go unfulfilled." 

  • Why is adolescents’ health a human rights issue?

    ifhhroAdolescents face a myriad of threats to their right to health including violence, sexual assault, exploitation, trafficking, and harmful traditional practices. At the same time, they face multiple barriers to health services, including restrictive laws, unavailability of contraception or safe abortions; failure to ensure privacy and confidentiality; judgemental service provision, and discrimination. Our volunteer Tara Ornstein wrote an article about adolescents’ right to health for our website, explaining what the issues are and what health professionals can do to safeguard adolescents’ health and rights.