Is Access to Health Care a Human Right? Symposium on Feb 23rd at Penn

On Wednesday, February 23, 2011, our Executive Director, Mila Rosenthal, will be the keynote speaker at a symposium at the University of Pennsylvania titled, “Is Access to Health Care a Human Right? A Global Perspective.”

Key questions that the symposium will engage include the following:

  • What are the central issues in health and human rights globally?
  • What does the human rights framework bring to health care?
  • What are the mechanisms of accountability?

Hosted by the Wharton Health Care Management Alumni Association and Penn’s School of Nursing, the symposium is part of the university’s Global Health Reflections Week.

While it is true that we live in a particular historical moment when many think it’s a foregone conclusion that access to health care is a human right, there are also a great many who aren’t quite sure what that claim means — or what then follows if one agrees or disagrees with that assertion,

This symposium will be a fascinating opportunity for academics and practitioners from a range of backgrounds and disciplines to engage the question of how and to what extent the right to health is a human right, and whose responsibility it is (or isn’t) to enforce and protect that right.

About the speakers:

Mila has a long history in international human rights and policy work.  Prior to joining HealthRight she was Deputy Executive Director for Research and Policy at Amnesty International USA. Mila was previously the Director of the Workers Rights Program at the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (now Human Rights First), and researched labor conditions in textile factories in Vietnam for her PhD in social anthropology from the London School of Economics. She was a consultant in Vietnam on rights-based issues to organizations including OXFAM and UNICEF; served as Director of the NGO Resource Project in Phnom Penh, Cambodia; and worked to build Cambodian civil society for UNTAC, the United Nations peacekeeping operation in Cambodia. Mila has written extensively about the social impact of globalization.

Joining Mila in the evening’s dialogue will be two commentators — both of whom have extensive international experience but come at the subject from different angles. 

Sarah Paoletti is a professor at the law school, and she also directs the Transnational Legal Clinic, where students engage in advocacy settings that cut across cultures, borders, languages and legal systems. Students in the clinic undertake direct legal representation of individual and organizational clients in a myriad of international human rights and immigration matters that require them to grapple with international and comparative legal norms. She has presented on the rights of migrant workers before the United Nations and the Organization of American States, and also works closely with advocates seeking application of international human rights norms in the United States.

The second commentator will be Patricia (Pat) D’Antonio, a nurse and historian whose body of scholarship situates the profession’s work and worth in both American hospitals and health care agencies and in the fabric of families and communities. Her research is the first to call attention to nurses’ dual sources of power and her work analyzes how the profession can authoritatively use them in constructing the new relationships and alliances that will strengthen nurses’ agency, voice, and presence in debates about issues affecting patients, families, communities, and health care systems in the United States and around the world.

The Symposium will take place Wednesday February 23rd, 2011, 5:00 – 6:30,  Fagin Hall Auditorium, which is in Penn’s School of Nursing.

We hope you will be able to attend!

HealthRight Board Member, Steve Sammut, and Assistant Dean Marjorie Muecke were instrumental in organizing this symposium and we’re very grateful they invited HealthRight to participate.

About The Author

Alicia Young

Communications Director, HealthRight International

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02 2011

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