Discussion and Debate Guide: Health as a Human Right in Massachusetts
Use a structured debate to inform your audience of the issues and stimulate interest.
Spark debate on health and human rights in Massachusetts
Other students may be interested in learning about health as a human right and health reform in Massachusetts. A great way for them to learn is to engage in discussion and debate; when people have to actively think and argue about these issues they will learn and care about them on a deeper level. You can use our discussion and debate guide as a companion to the educational resources PHR and our partners provide to get people thinking about and discussing health and human rights in Massachusetts.
Students can present opposing viewpoints in a formal debate format. This can be followed by questions from the classroom or a discussion that the entire class can participate in.
A great way to get people interested in participating in debate is by linking discussion topics to current news events. You can use the questions we’ve provided as a flexible template which you can tailor to different contexts; depending on what information you use to supplement the debate.
What kind of current news items should you look to incorporate into discussions and debates? Look for any of these topics:
– Massachusetts health care in general
– Health reform
– Immigrant rights and immigrant health care
– Racial and ethnic disparities in Boston; especially look for articles that touch on disparities in underlying determinants of health, like housing or violence
– Language barriers
– A human rights / social justice / equity based approach to health
– Personal accounts of Massachusetts residents relating to MA health care and access
– Right to health
– De facto segregation of Boston neighborhoods – relate it to underlying determinants of health
Examples of useful articles:
Alternately, you can use blog posts, educational materials, and reports published by PHR and our Massachusetts partners as a supplement to discussion or debate.
You may also want to look into the discussion guides our partner the Boston Public Health Commission provides as companions to the documentary film series Unnatural Causes.
Here are some basic questions on the human right to health
What is the right to health?
What are underlying determinants of health? Think of some examples.
How might the underlying determinants of health you thought of be affected by socioeconomic status, race, or gender?
In what ways does a human right to health framework for public health improve the overall health system?
In what ways would people be affected by a comprehensive human right to health framework for public health?
What role do you think community building plays in improving access to health care? Think beyond medical institutions and into every day community elements; schools, grocery stores, the local YMCA, barber shops, restaurants – anything.
Who do you think unaffordable health care hurts the most? And how does it hurt everyone involved?
Questions on the human right to health in Massachusetts specifically
In what ways does Massachusetts fall short in respecting, protecting, and fulfilling the right to health?
In what ways does Massachusetts succeed in respecting, protecting, and fulfilling the right to health?
What parts of existing Massachusetts health legislation erect barriers to access?
What kind of measures do you think would bring those barriers down?
Consider what you know about systemic racism and de facto segregation in Boston. How do you think this affects health care in Boston?
What role do you think health professionals should play in the shaping of Massachusetts health care?
How do you think speaking little to no English could act as a barrier to access to care in Massachusetts?
What human rights are being violated by health inequities in Massachusetts?
How is the right to health violated by disparities in environmental conditions between different neighborhoods in Massachusetts?