O'Neill Institute

O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law Newsletter - February 2016

O'Neill Institute
O'Neill Institute
O'Neill Institute Newsletter




Exploring the Proposal for a Pooled Fund for Global Health R&D
Co-Sponsored with the Global Health Technologies Coalition
Monday, February 29
11:00 am - 12:30 pm
Georgetown Law (Hotung 2001)
RSVP here

Strengthening National Security by Protecting Public Health

Journal of National Security Law & Policy Annual Symposium
Tuesday, March 1
9:00 am - 4:30 pm
Georgetown Law
RSVP here

Global Health Law Speed Networking Reception
Wednesday, March 2
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Georgetown Law (Hotung 2001)
RSVP here

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#CATmageddon: a bold and new approach in anti-smoking campaigns
BY: Fernanda Alonso, O'Neill Institute Associate

Sugary drinks: New evidence on damage to cognitive development & Soda’s expansion into low and middle-income countries
By: Katherine Shats, O'Neill Institute Associate

FY 2017 Federal Budget Proposal Addresses Hepatitis C Epidemic, but Misses Opportunity to Reach Many at Highest Risk for Infection
By: Sonia Canzater, O'Neill Institute Associate

President's Budget Proposes $20 Million Pilot Program to Increase Access to PrEP
By: Sean Bland, O'Neill Institute Associate

Beyond Cost-Effectiveness: Why We Need a Human Rights Approach to Universal Health Coverage
By: Eric Friedman, O'Neill Institute Associate

Enforceability of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Historical Background, Legal Basis and Misleading Assumptions
By: The O'Neill Institute

Three Challenges for Mental Health and the Syrian Refugee Crisis
By: The O'Neill Institute 

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                                                          Daniel Hougendobler, O'Neill 



The current Zika outbreak is one example of why the mission of the O'Neill Institute - to explore legal and policy solutions to health challenges - is so critical.  While biomedical innovation is essential, many of the interrelated aspects - global health governance, public health preparedness, sexual and reproductive rights, and important health and human rights have legal and policy dimensions.  Many members of our team are part of the ongoing dialogue around how to respond to the Zika outbreak.

Locally, we are honored and thrilled to partner with the Community Health and Outreach at the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University Medical Center on an initiative studying oral health disparities in D.C.  The O'Neill Institute will house the medical-legal partnership component of the project, which will be led by Georgetown Law professor Victoria Girard.

We are also are well into our spring semester at the O'Neill Institute with a number of exciting updates to share.  We have several events coming up between now and March, including a panel presentation with the Global Health Technologies Coalition on a pooled fund for global health research and development, and the annual symposium with the Journal of National Security Law & Policy on strengthening national security.


Larry Gostin and Oscar Cabrera at the Thematic Session of the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on NCDs

  • February 9, Susan Kim participated at the Fireside Forum on inequity and health organized by the Institute of World Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, discussing the global aspects of how inequality impacts health outcomes.
  • February 3-4Jeffrey Crowley presented on the HIV care continuum and also recent developments in implementing the Affordable Care Act for people with HIV at the AIDS Coordinating Committee meeting at the American Bar Association Mid-Year Meeting in San Diego.
  • January 25-28Jeffrey Crowley participated in a national syphilis summit organized by the Centers for Disease Control in Prevention in Atlanta to advise the agency on the development of a new syphilis action plan.
  • January 11-13Jeffrey Crowley participated in a high-level meeting on scaling up access to pre-exposure prophylaxis for gay and bisexual men, hosted by Emory University in Atlanta.

We continue our profile series about our associates, fellows and faculty as described “in their own words.” In this edition, meet Institute Associate Eric A. Friedman, JD, project leader for the Platform for a Framework Convention on Global Health (FCGH), which advocates for a global treaty grounded in the human right to health and aimed at closing health inequities. He holds a law degree from Yale Law School and B.A. from Yale College.

Do you remember when you first realized a career in law was a good fit for you?

In my junior year of college, I took a course on democracy and human rights. At the time, my understanding of human rights was narrow, as I equated human rights with civil and political rights, the Amnesty International prisoners of conscience, and U.S.Bill of Rights,sort of rights. During the first day of that course, the professor described the great expanse of human rights -- civil and political, yes, but also economic, social, and cultural, and reaching into development, peace, and the environment. Human rights put a name to my passions. That's when I knew that my future lay with human rights. Though I have since learned that careers in a great variety of professions can advance human rights, at that point, I believed that the route to human rights was through the law. 

When did you identify with the notion of law as a tool for improving public health?

My main focus was poverty, which I saw as perhaps the most widespread and devastating of human rights deficits globally -- and one that seemed more attuned to redress than many others, making its persistence particularly unconscionable.As I was finishing college and beginning law school, the AIDS epidemic in Africa was escalating exponentially, bothin the devastation it was causing and in the attention it was receiving. Given the epidemic's trajectory, it was clear that the AIDS crisis was an urgent priority for addressing poverty in Africa, a region with poverty so deep and so prevalent. AIDS in Africa became my focus...

Eric's Full Q&A


Participants during a session of the 2013 Global School at Harvard University

This June, the O'Neill Institute, in collaboration with the FXB Center for Health & Human Rights at Harvard University will conduct the "Global School on Health Rights Litigation."  The Global School is a one-week intensive training course for academics, students, and practitioners in strategic litigation relating to health rights, and in particular the health rights of women and children. This intensive course offers participants an opportunity to develop specialist-level knowledge in relation to litigating health-related rights at the national, regional, and international levels.

Topics covered include: sexual and reproductive health and rights; rights issues arising in health-care settings; palliative care; approaches to health-care rationing and factors to consider in assessing the equity impacts of judgments; access to medicines and intellectual property; judicial legitimacy in deciding issues with budgetary and policy implications; and judicial effectiveness and impact of judgments.

This year's Global School will take place June 13-17, 2016 at the Georgetown Law campus in Washington DC.  Applications are being accepted here



Susan C. Kim, "Still much needs to be done to improve health equity." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, February 6, 2016.

Lawrence O. Gostin, "The WHO Has Not Done Enough to Fight Zika," TIME, February 2, 2016.

Lucey, Daniel R, and Lawrence O Gostin. "The Emerging Zika Pandemic - Enhancing Preparedness." JAMA doi:10.1001/jama.2016.0904 (2016).

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