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Health and Human Rights: an example of interdisciplinary learning and teaching

Health and Human Rights: an example of interdisciplinary learning and teaching

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Health and Human Rights: an example of interdisciplinary learning and teaching

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  1. Health and Human Rights:an example of interdisciplinary learning and teaching Mary Renfrew, Jerome Wright, Lucy Harding Rafaela Stalback, Anna Tomasi, Jocelyn Ulvecus

  2. Health and human rights • Background and introduction to the issue • The challenge • The modules • Our experiences – staff, students

  3. Health and human rights • Background and introduction to the issue • The challenge • The modules • Our experiences – staff, students

  4. Health and human rights • Newly emerging field • Important, large scale challenges • Interdisciplinary – cannot address challenges from one perspective • Theoretical perspectives developing – needs dialogue and debate • Opportunity • Research programme in maternal and infant health, addressing inequalities • Newly established Centre for Applied Human Rights • Support from VC Initiative Fund

  5. What can human rights bring to health? • What can health bring to human rights?

  6. Defining a ‘Right to health’ “The right to health does not mean the right to be healthy, nor does it mean that poor governments must put in place expensive health services for which they have no resources. But it does require governments and public authorities to put in place policies and action plans which will lead to available and accessible health care for all in the shortest possible time. To ensure that this happens is the challenge facing both the human rights community and public health professionals.” Mary Robinson United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

  7. Understanding health and human rights • Understanding the reciprocal relationship between health and human rights is increasingly important to policy-makers, health care professionals, public health practitioners and human rights defenders • It presents us with opportunities and challenges, and can be a powerful tool for tackling complex and difficult health issues • But it is a new and challenging field, and debate is needed to develop thinking, and evidence is needed to demonstrate impact

  8. Health and human rights • Background and introduction to the issue • The challenge • The modules • Our experiences – staff, students

  9. Challenges • New development - not mainstream in either discipline • Difficult, sensitive issues • mental health, maternal mortality, sexual and reproductive health, discrimination, resource allocation • Students from very diverse backgrounds • rights students from law, social science • health students; health professionals, analysts

  10. Challenges • Speaking across disciplines • knowledge, language, paradigms • Presenting core of disciplines without being simplistic, appearing static • Balance of theory and applied scenarios • Balance between guest lecturers and continuity

  11. Health and human rights • Background and introduction to the issue • The challenge • The modules • Our experiences – staff, students

  12. Two modules • Two modules, jointly taught, enabling multidisciplinary debate and discussion between health students and human rights students • The module for Health Sciences students is 10 credits, the module for MA in Human Rights and LLM students is 20 credits: differences in expected reading and level of assessments • Both are administered by Health Sciences, but they must meet requirements for Law School/CAHR

  13. Course structure •  General introduction to theory and perspectives on H&HR; thereafter each session focuses on a different topic in family and community health in developing and developed countries • The modules incorporate case-based learning and group discussion to acquire insights and develop an understanding of the processes by which human rights can influence and improve health

  14. L&T challenges and methods • Prep for/with guest lecturers • Reading lists appropriate for each group of students (with enough overlap) • Mix of • Didactic presentations by lecturers • Scenario-based discussion • Student-directed discussion • Student presentations – mix of disciplines

  15. Assessment strategy • One piece of work is required • 2500 words: Health Sciences students • 5000 words: Human Rights, LLM students • Critical analysis and opinion of the application of a human rights framework or rights-based approach to a particular health topic or issue of the student’s choice

  16. Health and human rights • Background and introduction to the issue • The challenge • The modules • Our experiences – staff, students

  17. Staff experiences • Re-examining own discipline • Premising exploration

  18. Staff experiences Interdisciplinary Teaching Interdisciplinary teaching • Does teaching students from two different disciplines enhance or impede individual learning? • How might the lecturer most effectively enhance learning?

  19. What can human rights bring to health? • What can health bring to human rights?

  20. Rights-based approaches to health • Analysis • Strategies and framework for action • Empowerment • Meaningful participation • Non discrimination - focus on disempowered groups • Accountability

  21. Health-based approaches to human rights • Analysis – health problems underlying rights limitations • Strategies and framework for action • Evidence base • Health as marker of rights – eg maternal mortality • Health improvement programmes as part of development and rights programmes • Non discrimination - focus on disempowered groups

  22. Indivisibility of rights

  23. Interdependence of rights • Right to food • Right to housing • Right towater • Right toeducation • Right toparticipation • Right tolife • Right toequality • Right tonon-discrimination • Right tothe enjoyment of the benefits of scientific progress and its applications • Prohibition against torture • Right toprivacy • Access to information • Freedom of association • Freedom of assembly • Freedom of movement General Comment 14 - Committee on Economic, Social & Cultural Rights

  24. HRBAs in the NHS • Putting human rights principles and standards at the heart of policy & planning • Empowering staff and patients with knowledge, skills and leadership to achieve HRBAs • Enabling meaningful involvement and participation of all key stakeholders • Ensuring clear accountability throughout the organisation 5. Non-discrimination and attention to vulnerable groups

  25. Health • Serious challenge to improve health and care when problems at scale – eg infectious diseases, maternal and infant health • Important to do the right thing (evidence-based practice and policy) • Important to address the needs of all – eg to tackle inequalities, avoid discrimination

  26. Human Rights • ‘Human Rights and dignity are self-evident, the highest aspiration of the common people, and the foundation of freedom, justice and peace’. Preamble to the Universal Declaration on Human Rights

  27. Health problems – common themes • Underlying causes • Poverty • Inequalities • Lack of education • Disempowerment • Low priority • Limitations of public health approaches alone – and limitations of rights approaches alone • Complex cross-sectoral strategies needed • eg public health, development, law, policy…

  28. Module aims • To introduce students to the application of a human-rights framework in the field of public health • To gain insight into the structures and processes by which human rights can influence public health objectives • Throughout the course students will examine a range of public health issues using a rights-based approach, and analyse to what extent a rights-based approach is complementary, detrimental or relevant to policy and practice