The University of Iowa

1999: Global Health, Social Justice and Human Rights

April 9 - 11, 1999

Conference sponsors

Global Health Studies Program
International Programs
Center for International Rural and Environmental Health
College of Medicine
College of Nursing

Conference Goal

It is important to recognize and understand the relationship between health, justice and human rights. People in all parts of the world, including the US, suffer poor health because their most basic human rights to enjoy a standard of living adequate for health and well-being - such as safe living environments, safe working conditions, and access to appropriate education - are denied for reasons of economic condition, age, gender, race, religion, and political beliefs.

The overall goal of this conference is to make visible some of the less obvious, more fundamental and far-reaching abuses of human rights which have a profound affect on physical and mental health and well-being, as well as challenges to health present as a result of more familiar forms of human rights abuse.

The year 1998 was the 50th anniversary of the United Nation’s Declaration of Human Rights, and an appropriate time to bring these issues to the attention of health care workers as well as every concerned citizen. The conference is one of a continuing series of events during "Global Focus: Human Rights 98," which mark this important milestone.

Conference Objectives

  • Analyze the health implications of fundamental human rights abuses;
  • Develop insights into the effects of global economic disparities and dangerous work situations on health;
  • Discuss the health and human rights status of vulnerable populations such as the elderly, children and the disabled;
  • Assess the potential for health and human rights violations represented by current or future genetics research applications; and review information on careers or volunteer opportunities in health and human rights.

Conference Topics

  • Session 1 - Institutionalized Violence: Health and Human Rights of Poor and Minority Peoples
  • Session 2 - Economic Justice: A Health and Human Rights Agenda
  • Session 3 - Emerging Issues in Human Rights and Health
  • Session 4 - Health and Human Rights of Women and Children
  • Session 5 - Working for Human Rights with a Health Perspective


Robin Alexander, JD, MPH
Director of International Labor Affairs, United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America
Pittsburgh, PA

Lynn Freedman, J.D., M.P.H.
Columbia University School of Public Health
New York City, NY

Richard Garfield, R.N., Dr.P.H.
Department of Clinical Nursing,
Columbia University
New York City, NY

Chris Jochnik
Center for Economic and Social Rights
New York City, NY and Quito, Ecuador

Allen Keller, M.D.
Cofounder and Director, Bellevue/New York University Program for Survivors of Torture, New York City, NY

James Quesada, Ph.D.
Department of Anthropology
San Francisco State University
San Francisco, CA

Shira Saperstein
The Moriah Foundation
Washington, D.C.

Victor Sidel, M.D.
Past President, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War
Past President, American Public Health Association
New York City, NY

Margaret Weiser, Ph.D.
College of Education, The University of Iowa (retired). Iowa City, IA

Marta Culberg Weston, Ph.D.
Iowa City, IA