(Public) Health and Human Rights

Illustration ©2015_Brian Stauffer c/o theispot

Illustration ©2015_Brian Stauffer c/o theispot

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

9 a.m.–3 p.m.
Instructional Building
72 East Concord Street
Hiebert Lounge
Full Agenda
#BUSPH40 #BUSPHSymposia

Symposium Summary

Watch full event coverage on BUniverse

The right to health both defines a “health in all policies” agenda and prohibits state cruelty. The UN rapporteurs on the right to health and torture will help us set a forward-looking health and human rights strategy.


(George) David Annas

Deputy Director, Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship Program, State University of New York Upstate Medical University

George David Annas is the deputy director of the Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship Program at Upstate Medical University and Central New York Psychiatric Center. He currently supervises the forensic fellows in performing competence to stand trial evaluations at the local jail, writing forensic psychiatric reports and testifying in court. In addition, he provides lectures on landmark cases and special topics in forensic psychiatry. He also has been consulted by attorneys to form opinions related to numerous issues such as psychiatric malpractice, inmate suicide, viability of an insanity defense (and related potential mitigation), risk assessments, and sex offender detention evaluations. He graduated from the Boston University School of Medicine in 2007, completed an adult psychiatric residency at the University of Michigan in 2010, and completed his fellowship training in forensic psychiatry at SUNY Upstate Medical University in 2011. After the fellowship, he worked as a volunteer faculty member at Hutchings Psychiatric Center, a state psychiatric hospital in Syracuse, NY, managing a new forensic unit primarily dedicated to the care of patients who had been found not responsible by reason of mental disease or defect (NYS CPL §330.20) and were in the process of stepping down from a forensic to a civil hospital. He has worked in a number of forensic and correctional settings and has worked on cases regarding inmate deaths from suicide and medical mismanagement. He is currently working on multiple projects regarding the curriculum of the forensic psychiatry fellowship, with particular interests that include forensic psychiatric ethics and inmate hunger strikes.

George J. Annas

Warren Distinguished Professor, Boston University School of Public Health

George J. Annas is the William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor at Boston University, director of the Center for Health Law, Ethics & Human Rights at the Boston University School of Public Health, and a member of the Department of Health Law, Policy & Management at SPH. He is also a professor at the Boston University Schools of Law and Medicine. He is author or editor of 20 books on health law and bioethics, including The Rights of Patients (third edition, 2004), Public Health Law (second edition, 2014), American Bioethics (2005), Worst Case Bioethics (2010), and Genomic Messages (2015). He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is the co-founder of Global Lawyers & Physicians, an NGO dedicated to promoting health and human rights.

Sondra S. Crosby

Director, Immigrant and Refugee Health Program, Boston Medical Center; Associate Professor, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston University School of Medicine

Sondra Crosby is an associate professor of medicine and public health at the Boston University School of Medicine and Public Health and is a faculty member at the Center for Health Law, Ethics & Human Rights at BUSPH. Crosby is an expert in the field of torture documentation. She is co-founder and director of the Forensic Medical Evaluation Group at BU and serves as a medical consultant to Physicians for Human Rights. Crosby has evaluated the effects of torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment and displacement on Darfuri women in Chad; Syrian refugees living in Turkey and Jordan; and former detainees in US detention at Guantanamo Bay and other sites in Iraq and Afghanistan. She also served as a medical forensic expert for the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, investigating allegations of torture. Crosby has consulted on the care of hunger strikers in detention in both state prisons and Guantanamo Bay, as well as overseas.

Michael Alan Grodin

Professor, Health Law, Ethics, and Human Rights, Boston University School of Public Health

Michael Alan Grodin is professor of health law, ethics & human rights at the Boston University School Public Health, where he has received the two highest awards granted the faculty: the Career Research and Scholarship Award and the Norman A. Scotch Award for Excellence in Teaching. Grodin is also a professor of psychiatry and family medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine. In addition, Grodin is director of the BU Project on Medicine and the Holocaust at the Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies, core faculty of Judaic studies, and a member of the Division of Religious Studies of the College of Arts and Sciences. Grodin is the medical ethicist at Boston Medical Center and for 13 years served as chairman of the Institutional Review Board of the Department of Health and Hospitals of the City of Boston. He is a fellow of the Hastings Center and served on the board of directors of Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research and the American Society of Law, Medicine, and Ethics, as well as the advisory board of the Center for the Philosophy and History of Science. He is a member of the Ethics Review Board of Physicians for Human Rights and co-director of Global Lawyers and Physicians: Working Together for Human Rights, a transnational NGO. He was founding director of the Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights: Caring for Survivors of Torture, which received the 2002 Outstanding Achievement Award from the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project for “sensitivity and dedication in caring for the health and human rights of refugees and survivors of torture.”

Sofia Gruskin

Director, Program on Global Health & Human Rights, USC Institute for Global Health

Sofia Gruskin directs the Program on Global Health & Human Rights at the USC Institute for Global Health and holds appointments as professor of preventive medicine at the USC Keck School of Medicine and as professor of law and preventive medicine at the USC Gould School of Law. A pioneer in global health and human rights, she is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where she previously served as associate professor, director of the Program on International Health and Human Rights, and co-director of the Interdepartmental Program on Women, Gender and Health. Her work, which ranges from global policy to the grassroots level, has been instrumental in developing the conceptual, methodological, and empirical links between health and human rights, with a focus on non-communicable disease, child and adolescent health, HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive health, gender-based violence, and health systems. Current partners include the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Concern Worldwide, Open Society Foundation, and local organizations and universities in Brazil, India, and Vietnam. Recently elected to the PEPFAR Scientific Advisory Board, she is also on the Board of Directors of the Guttmacher Institute; co-coordinator of the Rights-Oriented Research and Education Network for Sexual and Reproductive Health (The RORE Network), an international network of SRHR researchers and advocates; and a member of The Core Group of Experts on Under 5 Mortality and Morbidity for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the World Health Organization. Most recently, Gruskin was on the Institute of Medicine’s Committee for the Outcome and Impact Evaluation of Global HIV/AIDS Programs Implemented Under the Lantos/Hyde Act of 2008 (PEPFAR), and the Technical Advisory Group of the UN Global Commission on HIV and the Law. She is also an associate editor for The American Journal of Public Health, Global Public Health, and Reproductive Health Matters.

Wendy Mariner

Professor, Health Law, Ethics, and Human Rights, Boston University School of Public Health

Wendy Mariner is the Edward R. Utley Professor of Health Law at the Boston University School Public Health, professor of law at the Boston University School of Law, professor at the Boston University School of Mediciane, co-director of the JD/MPH joint degree program, and a member of the faculty of the Center for Health Law, Ethics & Human Rights at BUSPH. Mariner’s research focuses on laws governing health risks, including social and personal responsibility for risk creation, health insurance systems, implementation of the Affordable Care Act, ERISA, health information privacy, and population health policy. She has published more than 100 articles in the legal, medical, and health policy literature and co-authored two editions of the law school textbook Public Health Law (Ken Wing, Wendy Mariner, George Annas & Dan Strouse, 2007) and Public Health Law, Second Edition (with George J. Annas, 2014). She also serves as program chair of the Program in Health Law & Human Rights, a joint project with the Public Health Regulations Analysis Center of the National School of Public Health of the New University of Lisbon. Mariner has served on state, national, and international boards and commissions, including the Committee for the International Ethical Guidelines for Biomedical Research Involving Human Subjects. Her BU activities have included serving as co-director of regulatory knowledge and research ethics of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute, and she is currently a member of the Boston University Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion. With health law colleagues, she has submitted amicus curiae briefs to the Supreme Court of the United States in cases involving health law issues, including the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.

Juan E. Méndez

Special Rapporteur on Torture, United Nations

 Juan E. Méndez is a professor of human rights law in residence at the American University–Washington College of Law. He is the author (with Marjory Wentworth) of Taking a Stand: The Evolution of Human Rights (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2011). He was an advisor on crime prevention to the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court from 2009 to 2011 and co-chair of the Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association in 2010 and 2011. Until May 2009, he was president of the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ). Concurrent with his duties at ICTJ, the Honorable Kofi Annan named Méndez his special advisor on the prevention of genocide, a task he performed from 2004 to 2007. For 15 years, he worked with Human Rights Watch, concentrating his efforts on human rights issues in the Western Hemisphere and, between 1994 and 1996, as general counsel. From 1996 to 1999, Méndez was executive director of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights in Costa Rica, and between October 1999 and May 2004 he was professor of law and director of the Center for Civil and Human Rights at the University of Notre Dame. Between 2000 and 2003 he was a member of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States, serving as its president in 2002. He has taught international human rights law at Georgetown Law School and at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and he teaches regularly at the Oxford Masters Program in International Human Rights Law in the United Kingdom. He is the recipient of several human rights awards, including the Rafael Lemkin Award for contributions to the prevention of genocide by the Auschwitz Institute on Peace and Reconciliation (2010) and the Goler T. Butcher Medal from the American Society of International Law (2010). 

Dainius Pūras

Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, United Nations

Dainius Pūras is a Professor and the Head of the Centre for Child psychiatry social pediatrics at Vilnius University, and teaches at the Faculty of Medicine, Institute of International relations and political science and Faculty of Philosophy of Vilnius University, Lithuania. He is also visiting Professor at the Ilia State University, Georgia. As a medical doctor, he serves as a consultant at the Child Development Center, at Vilnius University Hospital. Pūras is a human rights advocate who has spent 30 years actively involved in the process of transforming public health policies and services, with special focus on the rights of children, persons with mental disabilities, and other vulnerable groups. He was the founder of Lithuanian society of families with children who have intellectual disabilities; the first President of Lithuanian Psychiatric Association; the Dean of Faculty of Medicine of Vilnius University; and the Chairman of the board of two non-governmental organizations in Lithuania, the Global Initiative on Psychiatry and the Human Rights Monitoring Institute. As a researcher, Pūras has led and actively participated in projects at the national and international level in areas such as mental health policies and services, policies and services for children and families at risk, rights and needs of children with developmental disabilities, and prevention of violence. Pūras works closely with different stakeholders for the translation of scientific evidence into effective policies and practices through the application of modern human rights and public health approaches. Between 2007 and 2011, Pūras served as a member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. He has been an independent expert and consultant to numerous Governments, NGOs, and UN agencies and programs in the field of the right to health. He is author of over 60 scientific publications covering issues such as public health, mental health, public health policy, disabilities, and prevention of violence.

Brandon N. Reynolds

Regional Psychiatrist, Pre-Release and Legal Services, New York State Office of Mental Health; Adjunct Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, State University of New York Upstate Medical University

Brandon N. Reynolds grew up in Washington, DC, and attended the prestigious Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. After graduating from Exeter, Reynolds received his BS in biology from Yale University, then went on to obtain his MD from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. He completed his general psychiatry residency at the University of Michigan. After completing his fellowship in forensic psychiatry at SUNY Upstate Medical University, Reynolds stayed in Syracuse, where he worked as a staff psychiatrist with the New York State Office of Mental Health at Auburn Correctional Facility. He currently works with the Office of Mental Health in New York City, where he evaluates inmates for assisted outpatient treatment upon release from New York State prisons. Reynolds presented “Do We Treat Them the Same? The Prisoner as a Patient” with George J. Annas and George David Annas at the biannual Internal Academy of Mental Health and the Law conference in Vienna, Austria, in July 2015.

Daniel Tarantola

Former Senior Policy Adviser to the Director General with a Specific Focus on Health and Human Rights

Daniel Tarantola has occupied leadership positions in large-scale programs led by the World Health Organization, including the Eradication of Smallpox, Expanded Immunization, the Control of Diarrheal Diseases and Acute Respiratory Infections, and the Global Program on HIV/ AIDS. His career has alternated between academic positions and senior positions in WHO. At the Harvard School of Public Health; as a senior policy advisor to the director general of WHO and director of the WHO Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals; and more recently as a professor at the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Tarantola’s work has focused on immunization; HIV/AIDS; and the application of human rights principles, norms, and standards to public health policy and programs. Now an independent consultant based in France near Geneva, Switzerland, Tarantola pursues research, teaching, and publications on the same themes, devoting much of his time to the evaluation and strategic planning of global and international health ventures. He is currently an adjunct research professor of preventive medicine at the USC Keck School of Medicine.

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