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Health & Human Rights Education
Gauging your peers’ interest in health and human rights is one of the most important ways to not only show that you value and respect their unique perspectives and experiences, but to also better understand and respond to their needs when designing HHR curriculum.— Mona Singh, Student Chapter Leader, Virginia Commonwealth University Medical College
A survey assessing student interest in human rights education can both illustrate popular demand on campus for HHRE and help you publicize your campaign and recruit more supporters amongst the student body.
PHR has created a survey template , which can be personalized to suit your health and human rights education priorities. Virginia Commonwealth University’s Cultural Competency and Interest Assessment  is a good example of a customized survey.
Ideas for circulating the survey:
- Create the survey on Survey Monkey and email the link to all of your classmates and campus listserves
- Post the survey on Facebook or Twitter profiles
- Have a mini pre-class presentation and distribute the survey in classes
- Ask your faculty advisor and their colleagues to email it to their students or pass it out in class
- Go to high-traffic areas on campus and ask students to fill it out
Sample Course Evaluation
Course assessment it crucial to demonstrate that it is an effective class. As you propose a continuation of the curriculum, present this evaluation to exemplify your comprehensive planning and understanding of the needed materials for a formal university course.
PHR has created a basic course evalution template , which can be a key tool in confirming the impact of your course and recognizing the course’s strengths and weaknesses. Columbia University used this Course Evaluation  after their first elective offering
Gauging your peers’ interest in health and human rights is one of the most important ways to not only show that you value and respect their unique perspectives and experiences, but to also better understand and respond to their needs … Continue reading
The following databases provide a variety of educational content for your use in designing and implementing health and human rights courses. All three offer comprehensive resources with many useful educational tools, such as syllabi, teaching modules, and classroom materials.
- PHR has partnered with the University of California, Berkeley to provide health and human rights educational content through Berkeley’s web-based collaboration and learning environment, bSpace .
- Chapter members can access lecture and presentation slides, discussion guides and readings on health and human rights topics ranging from “Human Rights Law and Governing Bodies” to “Medical Ethics in Armed Conflict.” Email The National Student Program Coordinator 
- to get a username and password.
- See the How to Use bSpace  guide for more information on what the site offers.
Visit: bSpace 
Harvard School of Public Health – Health and Human Rights Syllabi Database
- This online database offers health and human rights syllabi from 26 accredited medical and public health universities.
- The courses listed offer a variety of health and human rights focuses and cover a range of issues including law, reproductive health, social activism and fundamental concepts of human rights.
Global Health Education Consortium (GHEC) Modules
- GHEC has developed over 50 comprehensive learning modules  on a range of global health subjects. All of the modules have been created in coalition with student organizations, NGOs and universities as well as being peer-reviewed by faculty and field-tested by students.
- The learning modules can be used for medical, public health, or nursing students and can be self-instructional or an instructor led-course.
- Each module is fully developed and extensive enough to be used as a full course, and include assessment tools at the end.
The following databases provide a variety of educational content for your use in designing and implementing health and human rights courses. All three offer comprehensive resources with many useful educational tools, such as syllabi, teaching modules, and classroom materials. bSpace … Continue reading
Making the syllabus for our HHR course at Washington University SOM was a very natural process that involved a lot of brainstorming which speakers we knew who could give great lectures on HHR topics of interest to us and doing some research to find others who could talk about issues that hadn’t been raised before by student group events. Once we had a list of all the speakers and topics they would address, it was simply a matter of organizing the lectures in a logical order, which really just meant starting with an introductory lecture on the historical context of the notion of a Right to Health, as well as collecting articles and readings that were relevant and of an appropriate depth for the nature of the course.
– Nick Reeves, former chapter leader, Washington University School of Medicine
Three Tips on How to Create a Class Syllabus
By the Washington University PHR Student Chapter
- Start your elective with a class introducing the background and historical context of the notion of a Right to Health, starting with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. You should be able to find a professor at an affiliated or nearby University who would be willing to give this lecture without compensation.
- Think of all the lunch lectures or other student group events you’ve attended that have addressed issues pertaining to Health and Human Rights and make a list of all the speakers you would like to invite to give guest lectures on particular topics. Send each potential speaker an email requesting that they give a lecture for your student-organized HHR elective. Most of the speakers will be happy to contribute an hour or two of their time. Then you just need to determine what dates would work best for all the speakers and start filling in the lecture slots.
- Do some research! Search the Internet and websites for various local universities to look for professors/academics who focus on issues pertaining to HHR that you would like to include as topics for your elective. You may be surprised by how many speakers you can find to address topics such as torture by US forces, global health and HIV/AIDS issues, or any other HHR issue that you are passionate about. Then simply contact each potential speaker with an email or phone call requesting that they give a lecture for your student-organized HHR elective.
Sample Student-Created Syllabi
The following syllabi were created by PHR student chapters and are available as a guide and resource. If you have questions for these chapters please email The National Student Program Coordinator  to get in touch with them.
Making the syllabus for our HHR course at Washington University SOM was a very natural process that involved a lot of brainstorming which speakers we knew who could give great lectures on HHR topics of interest to us and doing … Continue reading
Template Presentation for Your Curriculum Initiative
PHR has designed a PowerPoint template  that can help ensure your proposal presentations are clear, concise, educational and effective. This kind of organized, formal presentation will be a critical tool to garner support and implement your initiative.
Possible Venues to Feature the Presentation
- Meeting(s) with faculty or university administration
- Presentations to education and/or curriculum committees
- Health and Human Rights Education launch party
- Student organization/club/chapter meetings
- Conferences, colloquiums, or symposiums
- Outreach and publicity events
- Presentation Template  – This downloadable PowerPoint template allows you to personalize the presentation and add your university’s priorities and proposals: Template Presentation
- Sample Presentation  – Bridging the Gap: A Student-Driven Model for Cultural Competency and Human Rights Education , Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine’s PowerPoint presentation for their curricula reform proposal
Template Presentation for Your Curriculum Initiative PHR has designed a PowerPoint template that can help ensure your proposal presentations are clear, concise, educational and effective. This kind of organized, formal presentation will be a critical tool to garner support and … Continue reading
Collaboration with faculty members will be critical in designing and implementing human rights curriculum. Faculty can have a wealth of valuable information about navigating through your school’s administration and can offer thoughtful contributions and advice. A good relationship with a faculty member can also make your case much stronger in the wider university community.
Finding Interested Faculty
- Use your networking skills and current relationships on campus to find out who are the best faculty members to approach.
- Do some research online and on campus to find out if your initiatives coincide with any faculty member’s interests or if they have done educational reform before.
- Engage your chapter faculty advisor by explaining your initiatives and ask him/her to connect you with any other relevant university members.
- Approach your current professors and attempt to collaborate with them. If they are not able to work with you then ask them to put you in contact with someone who can.
- Arrange meetings with department heads and present your plans and ideas to them; ask them what your next steps should be and who you could be in touch with to strengthen your efforts.
Examples of What They Can Offer
- Expertise and experience in the design of the course (regarding topics, format, and resources available).
- Institutional knowledge for determining the best people to connect with/venues to navigate.
- Access or ideas for funding sources.
- Ideas for building legitimacy and need for the course.
- Editing assistance for any proposals or documents that you need to submit to the school.
Faculty members are extremely busy. To ensure accountability on their part, it is best to develop an ongoing work plan with them for getting everything approved and taken care of.
Sample Email for Initial Contact
Dear [insert name],
My name is [insert name] and I am [chapter position] at the Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) [school name] chapter. I am contacting you because our chapter is in the process of trying to incorporate a health and human rights curriculum into the [type of school, i.e. SPH] and I want to invite you to be a part of our efforts.
Our student chapter recognizes the strong link between health and human rights and understands the importance of incorporating the health and human rights paradigm into our academic training to become the most effective and knowledgeable health professionals we can be.
The PHR National Student Program is committed to supporting our chapter in putting this curriculum in place and will provide us with as many resources as possible. I believe with your support, our chapter could be much more successful in reaching our goal of implementing this critical educational framework. Your expertise and institutional knowledge would be instrumental in applying a curriculum like this.
I would be thrilled if we could set up a time to discuss this project further. Please contact me via email at [insert email address] or phone at [insert phone number]. I look forward to speaking with you.
Appendix: Criteria Checklist for Ensuring Effective Meetings with Faculty
The following checklists will help ensure your meetings with faculty are comprehensive and build needed individual and departmental commitment and investment in HHRE. Please note that these lists are loosely suggested checklists for the first three meetings to provide general direction. They are flexible, depending on the pace of progress you have as you continue to meet.
First-time Meeting Agenda – Checklist:
- Explain the need for a formal health and human rights educational curriculum
- Explain your chapter’s vision for establishing the curriculum and framework
- Explain the connection to them or the reason you have approached this specific faculty member
- Invite them to get involved
- Give him/her concrete examples of ways to get involved, such as:
- Aiding in the publicity and advocacy for gaining support
- Suggesting funding sources and/or ideas
- Planning and designing the proposed course and curriculum
- Teaching or facilitating the course
- Recruiting other faculty or administrative members to get involved
- Providing the necessary university contacts for getting new curriculum in place
- Schedule follow-up meeting and next steps
Second-time Meeting Agenda – Checklist:
- Give update on the work that you have done and where you are in the process
- Go through and review all of the resources and materials you have
- Brainstorm ideas for the proposal to the university or come to an agreement on one
- Discuss a tentative timeline for the work that needs to be done
- Schedule follow-up meeting and next steps
Third-time Meeting Agenda – Checklist:
- Give update on the status of your work
- Establish a work-plan for what needs to be done
- Revise timeline or create new one to fit with the work-plan and try to set deadlines for work that needs to be done by you and the faculty member
- Make plans for following up and next steps
Collaboration with faculty members will be critical in designing and implementing human rights curriculum. Faculty can have a wealth of valuable information about navigating through your school’s administration and can offer thoughtful contributions and advice. A good relationship with a … Continue reading
Funding may be critical to your health and human rights initiative.
What May Require Funding
- Speaker honorariums or other related expenses
- Outreach materials or publicity events
- Course materials and books
- Possible technology equipment or other facilities costs
How to Find the Funds
- No matter who you go to: do not be afraid to ask
- Assign a funding coordinator, who can take ownership for investigating what kind of funding options are out there. The research can be done through the internet or the student activities and student government offices at the university (see below ‘Sources of Funding’ section).
- Use your on and off campus connections to learn of funding resources and possible outlets for in-kind donations.
- Meet with deans and your faculty advisor to find out what funding options your university and local community has to offer.
- Plan a fundraising event. There are numerous events you could do, from a simple bake sale to organizing a full night of entertainment. This can be a great way to make money, raise the awareness about the curricula initiatives, and strengthen your team by having fun with your fellow chapter members and peers.
PHR ‘Fundraising for Your Chapter Guide’
This is an excellent resource  for learning the best strategies to fundraise and find donations. It also includes a variety of solicitation sample letters.
- In-kind donations are valuable options for fulfilling your project’s needs. They can be in the form of actual goods/supplies or using someone’s time and services for free or at little cost. In-kind donations are commonly solicited to alleviate some of the costs for needed equipment or supplies. Local businesses and restaurants are good places to start your search.
- Asking for in-kind donations can often-times be a lot easier than asking for money.
- Sample letter of acknowledgment after receiving and in-kind donation.
Sources for Finding Funds:
- The Arnold P. Gold Foundation 
- FoundationSearch  (Check your school and local libraries to get membership access.)
- Foundation Center  (Check your school and local libraries to get membership access.)
- Fundsnet Services 
- Proposal Write 
- The Grantsmanship Center 
- Idealist.org Funding Sources 
- Excess Access 
- Techsoup 
- Wa$teMatch’s Nonprofit Wish List (This is New York-specific resource. Research online to find a version in your state.)
Funding may be critical to your health and human rights initiative. What May Require Funding Speaker honorariums or other related expenses Outreach materials or publicity events Course materials and books Possible technology equipment or other facilities costs How to Find … Continue reading
Partnering and collaborating with other university student groups is an important step in gathering support, presence, and action for educational reform. The more endorsements and backing you have, the stronger your case will be for implementing this curriculum. Below are some resources for finding the right groups to partner with and some tips and strategies for how best to collaborate with your partners.
Tips for Collaboration
- Seek out similar student groups or clubs that have missions or educational goals common to PHR. Find the contact information of these groups on your university website.
- Contact your student government to see if they would like to get involved or if they can give you any support.
- Brainstorm and work with the other groups to develop a common proposal and strategy for getting the education reforms implemented.
- Develop a communications plan in order to ensure everyone’s voice gets heard and all members involved feel comfortable with the work being planned and put forward.
- Assign clear roles so everyone is on the same page and understands what is expected of them.
- Keep communication open among everyone as much as possible in order to minimize misunderstandings.
- PHR’s Guide for Collaborating With Other Groups  provides more detail on effective strategies and tips for developing and maintaining collaborations.
Examples of Student Groups to Partner With
- American Medical Association (AMA)
- American Medical School Association (AMSA)
- American Medical Women’s Association
- Amnesty International chapters involved in Human Rights Education
- Physicians for Social Responsibility
- Other groups in the University Coalitions for Global Health 
Some Relevant Groups
- Human Rights/Social Justice Advocacy
- Global Health/Global Awareness
- Community Development/ Community Health
- Women’s Rights
- Humanitarian Action/ International Development
- HIV/AIDS, or other prominent disease-based groups
- Demographic-Specific groups (ethnicities, cultures, LGBT, etc.)
- Student Government/Student Council
Partnering and collaborating with other university student groups is an important step in gathering support, presence, and action for educational reform. The more endorsements and backing you have, the stronger your case will be for implementing this curriculum. Below are … Continue reading
Here is a general guide to creating a “pitch” to introduce your initiative to a class, at a networking event, in a meeting, or any other public event.
- Overview: Who you are, how long you’re going to take, what information you’re going to cover. (15 sec.)
- Introduction: Describe your chapter, your mission/goal, how long it has been on campus, and any other important information about the group. (30 sec.)
- Legitimize your Project: Describe the necessity for an understanding of human rights for the health profession. In addition to PHR’s language  and on the importance and results of any student or faculty-interest surveys, see the Academic Literature  page for key stats, facts, and discussion points to back your argument. (15 sec.)
- Problem: Describe the void in your current curriculum/school experience that your group’s initiative is trying to address. (30 sec.) Ex: despite the intrinsic connection between health and human rights, there is no academic outlet to address this.
- Solution: What your group is doing about the problem. Describe your course or educational program in one to two sentences, including what students would be able to take from it. (30 sec.)
- Involvement: What students can do to get involved. (1 min.) Ex: From Participating in a student-interest survey to assist in the curriculum creation.
- Personal Appeal: Why this is personally important for you and how this new curriculum will benefit the students’ knowledge and abilities. (15 sec.)
- Thanks: Thank your audience for their time and attention. (5 sec.)
Max Time: 3 min. 35 sec.
Here is a general guide to creating a “pitch” to introduce your initiative to a class, at a networking event, in a meeting, or any other public event. Overview: Who you are, how long you’re going to take, what information … Continue reading
These materials provide chapter members additional information to support health and human rights education on campus. The materials range from reports and articles to fact sheets and presentations, a number of which PHR created or contributed to. These resources can be utilized, for example, as supplementary readings for a discussion or as part of a presentation and lecture.
The Human Rights Framework & the Right to Health
- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and All International Human Rights Law Treaties  (webpage)
- The Right to Health: A Toolkit for Health Professionals (Guide; BMA and Commonwealth Trust – webpage)
- The Right to Health Under International Law and its Relevance to the United States  (Article; American Journal of Public Health – pdf)
- The Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health (Report; Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights – pdf)
- 25 Questions on Health & Human Rights  (World Health Organization – pdf)
- Impact Assessments, Poverty, and Human Rights; Study Using the Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health  (Case Study; UNESCO – pdf)
- Assessing Quality of Care and Responsiveness of Health Services for Women in Crises Settings  (WHO Case Study – pdf)
- Darfur—An Assault on Survival: A Call for Security, Justice and Restitution  (PHR Report, download pdf from webpage)
- PHR Files Suit Against Defense Department in FOIA Dispute Over Documents Concerning Dasht-e-Leili Mass Grave in Afghanistan  (PHR motion, download pdf from webpage)
- The Relevance of the Right to Health to Human Rights Strategies to End Armed Conflict  (pdf)
- Southern Iraq: Reports of Human Rights Abuses and Views on Justice, Reconstruction and Governance  (PHR Report, download pdf from webpage)
- Suspected War Criminal Denies Involvement of Government of Sudan in Darfur  (PHR press release, webpage)
- Uncovering Truth in Afghanistan  (PHR webpage)
- Women’s Health and Human Rights in Afghanistan: A Population-Based Assessment  (PHR Report – pdf)
- War Crimes by Proxies: The Case of Afghanistan  (pdf)
Conflict & Medical Neutrality
- El Salvador: Health Care under Siege – Violations of Medical Neutrality During the Civil Conflict  (PHR Report – pdf)
- Doctors as Terrorists – A Letter to the Editor of the Boston Globe  (webpage with link to related op-ed)
- An Action Plan to Prevent Brain Drain: Building Equitable Health Systems in Africa  (PHR Report, download pdf from webpage)
- Africa’s Health-Care Brain Drain  (NYTimes editorial, webpage)
- African Ministers Commit to Universal Health Care by 2015  (PHR fact sheet, related pdfs available on webpage)
- Bold Solutions to Africa’s Health Worker Shortage  (PHR Report, download pdf from webpage)
- G8: What Would an Effective Health Worker Plan Look Like?  (PHR, related pdfs available on webpage)
- Gates’s Grandest Challenge: Transcending Technology as Public Health Ideology  (Univ. of Toronto article in The Lancet, pdf)
- How Not to Count the Poor  (pdf)
- Investing in a Strong and Sustainable Workforce  (PHR fact sheet, pdf)
- The Right to Equal Treatment in the United States  (PHR Report, download pdfs from webpage)
- Nigeria: Access to Health Care for People Living with HIV and AIDS  (PHR Report, download pdf from webpage)
- Nigeria: New Study Reveals Discrimination by Health Professionals Against People Living with HIV/AIDS is Fueled by Fear of Infection, Lack of Protective Supplies (PHR Press Release, download pdf from webpage)
- Neglecting the Needles  (Washington Post op-ed, PHR webpage with pdf)
- Open Letter to 2008 Presidential Candidates on Global Health and HIV/AIDS  (PHR letter, download pdf from webpage)
- Health Rights = Healthy Women: A Commitment to Halt the Feminization of AIDS  (PHR Platform)
Torture, Detention, and Asylum
- Broken Laws, Broken Lives: Medical Evidence of Torture by U.S. Personnel and Its Impact  (PHR Report, download pdf from webpage)
- Break Them Down: Systematic Use of Psychological Torture by U.S. Forces  (PHR Report, download pdf from webpage)
- Leave No Marks: Enhanced Interrogation Techniques and the Risk of Criminality  (PHR Report, download pdf from webpage)
- Congress Passes Measure Banning the CIA’s ‘Enhanced’ Interrogation Techniques  (PHR press release, webpage)
- From Persecution to Prison: The Health Consequences of Detention for Asylum Seekers  (PHR Report, download pdf from webpage)
- Asylum Network Training: Physical Evidence of Torture – part 1  / part 2 (5.1mb)  (PHR instruction information in two parts, pdfs)
- Manual in the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Istanbul Protocol)  (PHR Collaborative Guidelines, pdf)
- Breach of Trust: Physician Participation in Executions in the United States  (PHR Report, download pdf from webpage)
- Evaluating and Defending Survivors of Torture: An Introduction to the Asylum Process  (PHR factsheet, pdf)
- Iraq: Medical Consequences of Interrogation Techniques (PHR guiding principles, download pdf from webpage)
- Medical Investigation and Documentation of Torture (University of Essex Human Rights Center Guide, PDF 2.06 MB)
- A Report on Conditions at Shebarghan Prison, Northern Afghanistan  (PHR Report, pdf)
- Ten Steps to Restore the United States’ Moral Authority (PHR letter, download pdf from webpage)
- Testimony by PHR’s Vince Iacopino before the Congressional Human Rights Caucus  (webpage)
- Maternal Mortality in Peru: An Urgent Human Rights IssueMaternal Mortality in Peru: An Urgent Human Rights Issue (PHR Report, pdf)(PHR Report, pdf)
- Deadly Delays: Maternal Mortality in Peru Deadly Delays: Maternal Mortality in Peru (PHR Report, download pdf from webpage)(PHR Report, download pdf from webpage)
- Deadly Delays: Human Rights and maternal Mortality in PeruDeadly Delays: Human Rights and maternal Mortality in Peru  (video, available from webpage) (video, available from webpage)
- Dual Loyalty and Human Rights in Health Professional Practice; Proposed Guidelines & Institutional Mechanisms (PHR/University of CapeTown Report, pdf)
- AAMC Viewpoint: “The Human Rights Imperative in Medical Education”  (Leonard S. Rubenstein, PHR President – AAMC webpage)
These materials provide chapter members additional information to support health and human rights education on campus. The materials range from reports and articles to fact sheets and presentations, a number of which PHR created or contributed to. These resources can … Continue reading