BC3851: Advanced Human Rights and Public Health | W. Brown
As we face the triple threats of inequalities, climate change, and a pandemic, the dignity and well-being of many people are under attack or at imminent risk. Exploring several specific issues through the lens of human rights principles and public health standards will provide students with a strong analytic framework for understanding the challenges of and potential for systemic change to address these threats. Specifically, we will be looking at disparate health impacts and how to understand what drives the disparities; intellectual property laws and how they apply during a global crisis; the double-edged sword of digital technology particularly as it applies to health surveillance; the strengths and weaknesses of a biomedical model dominating the public health discourse; and, the politization of health policy. Specifically, we will explore systems of oppression that drive inequalities and lead to disparate health outcomes; the lack of a transnational accountability framework to address both climate change and the rights of those most impacted by it; and how a corporate-driven intellectual property regime has put access to essential medicines, including vaccines, beyond the reach of people living in poverty. Finally, looking at reports ripped from the headlines, we will look at how the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown open the door to widespread digital surveillance with few safeguards to protect privacy rights or to address the biases in many of the algorithms driving this technology.
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