O'Neill Institute

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

O'Neill Institute
O'Neill Institute




A Conversation with Dr. Joe Thomas on the Election of the Next WHO Director-General
Friday, September 16
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Hotung Room 5020
RSVP via email aeh127@georgetown.edu 

Brown Bag with Professor Jayashree Watal: Negotiating on Innovation and Access to Medicines in the TRIPS Agreement
Friday, September 16
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
McDonough Room 220
RSVP via email aeh127@georgetown.edu 

Regulatory Alternatives in the Americas and the Marijuana Debate in Mexico
Friday, September 23
McDonough Hall Room 201
9:00 am - 4:30 pm

See All News & Events


Climate Change: A Growing Threat to our Health
By: O'Neill Institute

The Exorbitant Pricing of Pharmaceuticals is in the New. Again.
By: Katie Gottschalk, O'Neill Institute Associate

Yellow Fever: The Forgotten Epidemic That Nobody's Talking About... Yet
By: O'Neill Institute 

Exclude Sugary Drinks from Nutrition Program, but Exclude Stigma Too
By: Eric Friedman, O'Neill Institute Associate

Colombia in Focus
By: Alicia Ely Yamin, O'Neill Institute Program Director

See All Blog Posts


Previous editions of the newsletter can be found here


This August concluded a busy and productive summer, with many new developments at the Institute. August brought Alicia Ely Yamin to the O’Neill team, where she will serve as the Director of our Health and Human Rights Initiative. We are thrilled to have Alicia join the O’Neill team and look forward working with her in this important space. We also saw the matriculation of our next class of LL.M.s, with students from five continents, ten countries and an impressive diversity of experience.

We kicked off the Institute’s annual fall Colloquium with a discussion on Zika with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and other experts. Additionally, the institute received an Innovative Team Science Pilot Study award from the DC Metro Tobacco Research and Instruction Consortium (MeTRIC). Finally, we would like to welcome our newest Institute Associate, Katie Gottschalk, who joins from her position as an Executive Director at the Center for Global Health and Diplomacy. Continue reading below to hear more about these featured updates. See you next month!



I am truly delighted to be writing this first letter as the Program Director of Health and Human Rights Initiative at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, and to share my vision and enthusiasm for everything that we can accomplish together.  At the O’Neill Institute, we believe that states of health are a sensitive reflection of patterns of social (in)justice, and that advancing people’s dignity and rights should lie at the center of our responses to many national and global health problems. But in the more than twenty years since a nascent “health and human rights movement” took shape, much has changed.

These are new times, and they present new challenges and also new opportunities for health and human rights work. The world is facing one of the worst man-made crises involving human migration and forced displacement in modern history. How we react will say much about not just our appetite for humanitarian largesse, but about the meaning of our international architecture for citizenship and rights, and who gets to be treated as fully human.

At the same time, social inequalities, including egregious inequalities in health care access as well as health outcomes, increasingly tear at the social fabric of many societies, as well as being woven into the world order. Intersecting forms of discrimination and stigma keep many people and groups low on the social ladder, but we must also face the enormous economic disparities that prevent so many from living flourishing lives. Indeed, the Sustainable Development Agenda forcefully sets out a universal set of goals, including health-related goals, and in so doing acknowledges that the problems of inequality affect rich and poor countries alike.

These new challenges and opportunities call for new approaches to to advancing health through a human rights framework in order to foster systemic changes, which we welcome the opportunity to explore and advance in conjunction with partners around the world.

Continue reading Professor Yamin's message.



On August 31, the O'Neill Institute held its first session of the annual fall Colloquium, discussing the current status of Zika. Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Stephen Morrison, Director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Dr. Daniel LuceySenior Scholar at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, and Lawrence Gostin, O’Neill Institute Faculty Director examined the progress and hurdles surrounding this public health crisis. The discussion was broadcast on CSPAN and may be viewed here.

This summer, O’Neill Institute experts spoke across the globe on a range of health law issues: Fernanda Alonso presented on cannabis regulation and the public health at ASTHO's State Legislative Liaison Annual Meeting; Sarah Roache participated in the Pan American Health Organization's Regional Meeting on Alcohol Marketing Regulation; Jeffrey Crowley participated in the annual meeting of the CDC’s Expert Panel on Reproductive Health and Preconception Care for People Living with HIV; and Ana Ayala participated as a legal expert in a workshop on the Global Virome Project, an initiative aimed at identifying 99% of viruses with potential of becoming epidemics.

In August, the institute received an anonymous donation of 100,000 USD to support Alicia Yamin's strategic vision as she takes the helm of the Health and Human Rights Initiative at the Institute. We are deeply grateful for the kind gift.

In late August, The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released a series of Reflection Guides for stakeholder groups in order to guide the application of rights based approaches towards maternal and child health. Alicia Yamin, the Intitute’s new Health and Human Rights Initiative Director, contributed to the Reflection Guides while at Harvard FXB in partnership with OHCHR, UNFPA, WHO, and the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health.

In August, The O’Neill Institute received a 30,000 USD Innovative Team Science Pilot Study award from the DC Metro Tobacco Research and Instruction Consortium (MeTRIC) for a project titled “Are Little Cigars Actually Cigarettes?”  The project will include both analyses of so-called “little cigars” purchased from DC retailers and a web-based survey, managed by O’Neill partners at Georgetown University’s Lombardi Cancer Center,  to explore consumer views and behaviors relating to sticks of tobacco labeled as “little cigars” that look much like conventional cigarettes.  This collaborative project also includes partners the Truth Initiative, the GWU Miliken School of Public Health, and the DC Community Wellness Alliance.


Katie Gottschalk, J.D., LL.M., is an Institute Associate at the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University Law Center. Katie holds a Master of Laws in Global Health Law from Georgetown University and a Juris Doctor from New York Law School.
Prior to joining the O’Neill Institute, Katie served as the the Executive Director of the Center for Global Health and Diplomacy, an organization which brings together leaders from the health, diplomatic and development communities to discuss health challenges and develop innovative solutions to protect vulnerable populations. Under Katie's leadership, GHD convened global experts and world leaders at its forums alongside the World Health Assembly, the United Nations General Assembly and the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting where participants explored topics such as the role of the private sector in global health security, the role of innovative financing in the global health architecture, and health systems strengthening for swifter responses to outbreaks and pandemics.
Previously, Katie served as the Acting Director at the Dianne Abbey Law Center for Children and Families in New York, working with a diverse set of stakeholders to raise the profile of discreet issues of family law, including juvenile justice, the disproportionate representation of minorities in the welfare system and end of life rights. Since obtaining her JD, Katie has managed health and policy programs for multiple organizations including MergerWatch, Physicians for Reproductive Choice & Health and New York Law School.


Rebecca B. Reingold and Lawrence O. Gostin, “Women’s Health and Abortion Rights - Whole Woman’s Health v Hellerstedt", JAMA, published online July 21, 2016, doi:10.1001/jama.2016.11074

Yamin, AE. and Duger A. Adjudicating health-related rights: Proposed considerations for the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and Other International TribunalsChicago Journal of International Law 2016, 17(1): 80-120.

Oja, L and Yamin, AE. “Woman” in the European human rights system: How is the reproductive rights jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights constructing narratives of women’s citizenship? Colombia Journal of Gender and Law, 2016, 32 (1): 62-95.    

Yamin, AE. Power, Suffering and the Struggle for Dignity: Human Rights Frameworks for Health and Why They Matter. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press; 2016.



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