Health and Human Rights – Interdisciplinary NU course spotlight

Few courses give students the opportunity to engage in a comprehensive interdisciplinary conversation on health and Human rights. Once every year Northwestern students  are given the unique opportunity to be part of this conversation through the lively interdisciplinary course – Health and Human Rights – offered through through Northwestern Pritzker  School of Law and the Northwestern Program in Public Health. This course brings together diverse students from different schools ( feinberg school of medicine, Kellogg, NU law, TGS etc) to study and contemplate legal and scientific frameworks that affect local and global access to health and Human rights.

Beyond theory and classroom learning however, select students from the course often have opportunities to translate classroom discussions to practical field studies in varied destinations from Ethiopia, to Mali and Nigeria.  A recent  course  alumni testimonial stated,   “…The interdisciplinary nature of the class  was invaluable, and I really enjoyed learning from the business and law students. Lastly, my experience in Nigeria was incredible, and I learned a lot from the experience.” – David William Shapiro (current MD/MPH student).

As you are registering for winter quarter, the Program in Public Health would like to invite you to take a look at Professor Sorensen’s Health & Human Rights course as an exciting option to add to your schedule! Juliet Sorensen is the Harry R. Horrow Professor in International Law with the law school’s Center for International Human Rights. Professor Sorensen received the Excellence in Teaching Award from the Master’s in Public Health Program in 2014 and 2015.

Health And Human Rights Field trip to Mali 2015

Health And Human Rights Field trip to Mali 2015

Course description: This course examines the intersection of health and international human rights. Readings and discussion will focus on whether there is a universal right to health; how to

maximize access to health; the health implications of war crimes and atrocities; and the meaning of rights and access in resource-poor settings such as refugee camps and fragile states.  Special attention will be paid to the role of corporate social responsibility and advanced economies in access to health.

Students will work in interdisciplinary groups on a health assessment and intervention known as the Access to Health Project. Headed by Professor Sorensen of the Center for International Human Rights and faculty at the Center for Global Health at Feinberg Medical School, the Access to Health Project seeks to leverage academic partnerships to maximize access to health in communities in the developng world. Specifically, this class will participate in needs assessments and project development in urban refugee environments in Lebanon. Our partner communities in Lebanon, predominately Syrian refugees, have public health issues that include respiratory and skin infections, lack of access to secondary and tertiary care, and other issues related to insecure, transitory environments.  Psychosocial issues such as gender-based violence and trauma related to mass displacement, extreme war-time violence, and discrimination are also present.

The needs assessment will reflect human rights, public health and sustainability considerations. In lieu of an exam, student teams will prepare a final written report detailing their findings and recommendations.

If interested, please email for a permission number.

About NPHR Blog (254 Articles)
The is the blog of the Northwestern Public Health Review journal. The blog and journal are both student run and contain research articles, opinions, interviews and other content pertaining to public health.

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