Pioneer in global health will give inaugural UNC Health and Human Rights lecture

April 2, 2012 – Sofia Gruskin, a pioneering expert on public health practice and human rights law, will discuss the crucial intersection of human rights and global health on April 16 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Sofia Gruskin is an expert on the intersection of health and human rights

The free public lecture will take place at 5:30 p.m. in the Tate-Turner-Kuralt Auditorium at the UNC School of Social Work.  Sponsors of the event are the UNC Center for Bioethics, Department of Public Policy, and Institute for Global Health & Infectious Diseases.

Gruskin, who teaches preventive medicine and law at the University of Southern California, will discuss a rights-based approach to global health, including the legal and policy considerations that impact access to public health systems, especially for hard-to-reach populations.

Gruskin has been exploring the linkages between health, human rights and law since the early years of the AIDS crisis, when she observed that rights were being restricted in the name of public health, leading to devastating health effects. Before joining the faculty at USC in 2011, Gruskin served as the longtime director of the Program on International Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health, where she still holds an adjunct appointment.

“Professor Gruskin has proven to be a visionary leader in conceptualizing, developing and evaluating a human rights basis for global health policy,” said Benjamin Mason Meier, assistant professor of public policy at UNC. “Through her contributions at the intersection of public health and human rights—working with global institutions, national governments, and nongovernmental organizations—Professor Gruskin’s passionate scholarship has provided a foundation for justice in global health.”

The April 16 lecture will kick off the UNC Health and Human Rights Lecture Series, which will address key ethical, legal and policy issues in health, both globally and locally. “Our goal,” said Eric Juengst, director of the UNC Center for Bioethics, “is to advance the fields of health policy and bioethics as fundamentally collaborative efforts to promote health care justice in an interdependent world.”

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Institute for Global Health & Infectious Diseases contact: Lisa Chensvold, (919) 843-5719, lisa_chensvold@med.unc.edu

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