Global Health, Global Governance and Human Rights- A Complicated Convergence in a Complicated Time

In every part of the world we are witnessing the inequalities and harms brought to light by COVID-19, including for the elderly, the sick, the poor, the criminalized, sexual and gender minorities, and all those who face persistent discrimination and exclusion. This includes the use and misuse of law and police power to address the pandemic. Additionally, the tensions between countries, and potential defunding by the United States of WHO, all threaten the multilateral engagement needed to address this pandemic. The United Nations system is clear that a right-oriented approach is both critical to fighting the disease and to aid in a recovery that doesn’t exacerbate existing disparities. But given current realities, what can this mean in practice?

This webinar is organized by APRU Global Health Program and USC Institute on Inequalities in Global Health

Revisit the webinar on YouTube

Presentation slides


Date and Time

Friday, July 17, 2020

11 am (Sydney)/10 am (Tokyo/Seoul)/9 am (Hong Kong/Beijing)/8 am (Bangkok)

Thursday, July 16, 2020

6 pm Pacific Time (US & Canada)

Additional Information

  • This webinar is open to the public and will be recorded for those who cannot attend live.

  • Visit here for news, events and resources of the APRU Global Health Program.

  • To request a certificate of attendance, please mark your registration form.

  • The views, information, or opinions expressed during webinars are solely those of the individuals involved and do not necessarily represent those of Association of Pacific Rim Universities (“APRU”) and its employees. APRU is not responsible for and does not verify for accuracy of any of the information contained in the series.

Professor Sofia Gruskin
Director of USC Institute on Inequalities in Global Health, Chief of Policy and Global Health Division, and Professor at USC Keck School of Medicine and USC Gould School of Law, University of Southern California

Sofia Gruskin is Director of USC Institute on Inequalities in Global Health, Chief of Policy and Global Health Division, and Professor at USC Keck School of Medicine and USC Gould School of Law, University of Southern California.

Gruskin is recognized as a pioneer in fostering multi-disciplinary approaches to global health with work ranging from global policy to the grassroots level, and is particularly recognized for her efforts to bring attention to the effects of law and legal frameworks on health outcomes for key and vulnerable populations. Her work has been instrumental in developing the conceptual, methodological and empirical links between global health and human rights, with a focus on sexual and reproductive health, child and adolescent health, HIV/AIDS, gender-based violence, non-communicable disease and health systems. She has worked closely with the United Nations system, in particular WHO and UNDP, for many years. Professor Gruskin is an associate editor for Global Public Health, on the editorial advisory board for Revue Tiers Monde, a trustee of Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters, and was an associate editor of the American Journal of Public Health and editor in chief for Health and Human Rights both for over a decade.

Reading list for Professor Gruskin’s talk:

Rights in the time of COVID-19 — Lessons from HIV for an effective, community-led response (pdf)

Addressing Human Rights as Key to the COVID-19 Response (pdf)

Mapping the Proliferation of Human Rights Bodies’ Guidance on COVID-19 Mitigation (web)

Dr Mellissa Withers
Associate Professor, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California and Director, APRU Global Health Program

Mellissa Withers, Ph.D., MHS is an Associate Professor at thin the Department of Preventive Medicine. She is based at the USC Institute on Inequalities in Global Health. She also is also Director of the Global Health Program of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities, a non-profit network of more than 50 leading universities in the region. She received a Ph.D. from the Department of Community Health Sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health with a minor in cultural anthropology. She also earned a Master’s in International Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a BA in international development from UC Berkeley. Her research interests lie in community participatory research, gender-based violence, and global sexual and reproductive health. Dr. Withers is the editor of two books: Global Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health Across the Lifecourse, and Global Health Leadership: Case Studies from the Asia-Pacific. She also writes a blog on human trafficking titled Modern-Day Slavery for Psychology Today.