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Public Health and Human Rights

, 512 pages

31 b&w illus.

September 2007



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Public Health and Human Rights

Evidence-Based Approaches

Human rights violations are underlying causes of adverse health outcomes for vulnerable people and populations around the world. Public Health and Human Rights provides critical, evidence-based assessments and tools with which to investigate the role of rights abrogation in the health of populations—from repressive laws to social discord, gender-based violence, human trafficking, and violations in conflict.

Divided into three sections, this provocative work investigates how the complex interactions between rights and health can best be studied, analyzed, and remedied; how the efforts of human rights advocates affect health outcomes; and how modern public health procedures can assist in documenting, understanding, and preventing human rights violations. Part I illuminates the powerful relationship between rights work and public health practice in Thailand, Russia, Burma, and China and in U.S. prisons. Part II explores new methodologies and new uses of previous practices for rights-based public health research. Part III confronts current policy approaches—such as Brazil's integration of rights, HIV/AIDS programming, and the contradictory and confounding global policies on illicit drugs—and offers recommendations for future programs and strategies.

Chris Beyrer, M.D., M.P.H., is a professor of epidemiology and international health, director of the Center for Public Health and Human Rights, and associate director of the Center for Global Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. H. F. Pizer is the cofounder and principal of Health Care Strategies, Inc., and author, coauthor, or editor of thirteen medical books.

"A necessary and timely contribution for the public health and for the human rights audience. It can be the 'bible' of approaching the most vulnerable of our world's population, including those affected by HIV/AIDS, genocide, intravenous drug use, trafficking, and gender-specific abuse."

"This book is a real contribution for those working to bring health and dignity to communities in need. We have long understood that the violation of the human rights of the poor and marginalized had grave implications for their health and well-being. Now we have a tool kit for investigating those relationships and, more importantly, for doing something about them to improve both human health and human rights."

"Many of the case studies are powerful and hopeful."

"The strength of the book is the authors' and editors' insistence on 'evidence-based approaches' to abuse and harm. They explain why acquiring reliable evidence about the effects on health of abuses of human rights requires changing principles and methods that researchers in industrial countries take for granted."

"The message of this book is clear... A rights-based analysis of our public health policies is a requirement of the times in which we live."

"The book is well constructed and provides insights into how to approach public health programs in unique situations where human rights violations constrain public health workers' ability to assist populations at risk... The examples in this book provide a set of tools to consider when we find ourselves in unique situations."

"A good resource for students. It is a quick and interesting read."

"This engaging and important book is likely to interest a broad range of readers."

"Valuable and enlightening... Mental health specialists will find here much to reflect about."

"A good addition to the burgeoning literature on global health, and I would recommend it strongly to practitioners."

"The individual case studies are fascinating, and provide insight into the challenges of working in oppressive and dangerous environments."

"Well researched and timely, and cites well-documented evidence."

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