Spring 2021 Course Schedule

Global Health Law (LAW-719D-001)
Javier Vasquez

Meets: 06:00 PM - 07:50 PM ( W)

Enrolled: 5 / Limit: 22

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This course explores major global health challenges and the concepts of health laws and human rights as applicable to global health. Students will be introduced to current and emerging global health priorities and analyze possible solutions through the reform of health-related laws as a component of health systems. The course also explores the links between human rights and public health policy. Classroom discussions will examine how international law (including international human rights norms and standards) can be an important tool for formulating and reviewing health-related laws and addressing: current global health challenges and emergencies, improving mental health systems and their response, creating smoke free environments, reducing the incidence of HIV/AIDS and other diseases, reducing maternal mortality and protecting older persons and other groups in situations of vulnerability during health emergencies and pandemics.

The objectives of the course are:

• To help students understand what are the main global health challenges, how to improve health and achieve equity in health through health-related law;

• To identify the determinants of health and analyze the components of health systems and global health priorities;

• To help students understand international human rights law through a focus on public health and the health of groups in situations of vulnerability;

• To identify the theoretical and practical tensions between the goals of human rights protection and public health programs, as well as their potential to further shared goals;

• To examine ways in which human rights lawyers, public health officials, NGOs, UN agencies, universal and regional human rights bodies and other stakeholders can work together to achieve the goals of improving health-related laws; and

• To enable students to work together in evaluating and analyzing health-related laws and human rights issues from a domestic and international legal perspective.

Lectures, discussions, presentations and guest speakers (with experience in the field) will enable students to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to understand global health challenges and to apply international law instruments and tools towards the formulation and reform of health-related laws, the prevention of disease and disability and reduction of health-related abuses and suffering. Students’ abilities to develop original ideas, concept papers and engage in critical thinking on health law and human rights will be reflected in their research assignment selection, presentations and writing.

Textbooks and Other Materials

The textbook information on this page was provided by the instructor. Students should use this information when considering purchases from the AU Campus Store or other vendors. Students may check to determine if books are currently available for purchase online.

Readings for the class will be included in the class website (MyWCL) one week in advance.

These readings include specific sections of text book “Foundations of Global Health and Human Rights” (Lawrence Gostin and Benjamin Mason Meier), the material included in this Syllabus, as appropriate, as well as other more recent articles, videos and news that may relate to the subject under consideration for each week (that will be included in MyWCL).

First Class Readings


Before the First Class:

E-learning course on Health and Human Rights, available at: https://www.campusvirtualsp.org/en/courses/self-learn-ing?field_nombre_del_curso_value=Human+Rights&field_sol_cursos_categoria_tid=All

Text Book:

• Introduction “Global Health Law, Legal Foundations for Social Justice in Public Health”, pages 45-66 [21 pages]

International Human Rights Law Instruments, standards and technical guidelines:

• Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)

• International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), Article 12 and General Comment 14 of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

• International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Article 7

• Health-Related Law Strategy and Resolution CD54.R9, Pan American Health Organi-zation/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO)



• COVID-19 Guidance, UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/COVID19Guidance.aspx

Additional readings:

• Chapter 1, pages 7-20, of Health & Human Rights by Mann et al. [13 pages]

• Selections from International Law and Public Health: Materials on and Analysis of Global Health Jurisprudence, by David P. Fidler, ISBN: 1571051236, Publisher: Transnational Publishers (2000).

“Civil and Political Rights and Public Health,” Chapter 8.2 & “Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights and Public Health,” Chapter 8.3, both from Fidler [14 pages]


Use your MyAU username and password to access the syllabus in the following format(s):