BUSM to Host Conference on Integrating Health and Human Rights into Health Professions Education

in Health & Medicine, News Releases, School of Medicine
February 17th, 2010

Contact: Gina M. Digravio, 617-638-8491 | gina.digravio@bmc.org

(Boston) – The Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) Chapter at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), in collaboration with the National Chapter of PHR, will host a first-of-its-kind conference to focus solely on integrating health and human rights into the health education. Participants will be a part of a national movement to change the health profession to one that promotes health and human rights worldwide.

The conference takes place on February 20, 2010 at BUSM. Details are available at http://conference.phrblog.org/.

The conference, “Health & Human Rights in 2010,” will empower students to change the paradigm of medicine to embrace human rights through incorporating human rights in health professions education. It features experienced leaders who will conduct panel discussions about the best way integrate a human rights curriculum in medical education. Robert Lawrence, MD, co-founder of Physicians for Human Rights; President of the Board of Directors, Physicians for Human Rights will be the keynote speaker.

Student presenters will share successful health and human rights educational programs and share experiences with other students trying to introduce similar programs. Students and faculty will work together to create comprehensive Institutional Action Plans for heir campus to implement. The conference will conclude with a town-hall style forum to discuss the need for a human rights approach in the health profession, led by Representative James McGovern (D–MA) and an award ceremony honoring pioneers in health and human rights education.

“Given Boston University’s long-standing record of expertise and leadership in the health and human rights movement, as well as the new Center for Global Health and Development, we are honored to team with the Boston University School of Medicine’s Student Chapter to host this unprecedented event,” said Hope O’Brien, PHR Student Program Coordinator. “The students are not only the doctors, nurses, dentists and public health specialists of tomorrow, they are already advocates for their patients’ rights, and the rights of others.

“It is reassuring to know that at BUSM we have faculty and administrative support in embracing the idea that medicine transcends stethoscopes and prescriptions, but rather includes other issues such as human rights, that are important to the overall well being of patients,” said second-year BUSM student Doreen Gidali, a coordinator for the BUSM PHR Chapter.

It is hoped that this year’s conference will serve as the springboard for nationwide initiatives to advance Health and Human Rights Education. During the day-long conference, teams of students and educators will:

• Develop a deeper understanding of the necessity of human rights education for the betterment of the health professions
• Engage in strategic dialogues on how to advance HHRE in academic curricula
• Develop practical skills that will strengthen advocacy efforts for HHRE, such as building relationships with educators, and inspiring their classmates to become advocates by creating elective courses for credit
• Connect with current experts on health and human rights education to gain the necessary ideas, resources, and action plans for effectively leading their campuses to incorporate human rights in their curriculum.
• Be inspired to use their unique and powerful role as proponents of change in their community and the medical education field

Established in 1873, Boston University School of Medicine is a leading academic and research institution, with an enrollment of nearly 630 students and more than 1,100 full and part-time faculty members. It is known for its programs in arthritis, cardiovascular disease, cancer, infectious disease, pulmonary disease and dermatology, among others, and is one of the major biomedical research institutions in the United States. The School is affiliated with Boston Medical Center, its principal teaching hospital, and Boston Veterans Administration Medical Center. Along with Boston Medical Center and 15 community health centers, the School of Medicine is a partner in Boston HealthNet.

Since 2002, the PHR National Conference has provided medical, dental, nursing, public health and other interested students a unique opportunity to learn about critical human rights issues facing the US and the world, and to build advocacy skills which will make them leaders on campus, in their community, and in the field of medicine. They will leave the conference with a heightened awareness of their power as an advocate; stronger connections to a national community of involved activists; and with innovative ideas for action.

Those who need more information should contact PHR’s Hannah Lauber at hlauber@phrusa.org.

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