The Global Health Justice and Governance Program (GHJG) is a university-wide initiative housed in the Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. GHJG addresses complex public health challenges by advancing justice in the areas of gender, environment, and food. The program integrates public health, legal, and scientific scholarship and practice from across Columbia University to promote, protect, and fulfill the right to health. GHJG seeks to affect change at the interface of public health, justice, and governance, which is unique among schools of public health. By analyzing how standards – whether they are existing, missing, formal, or informal – either promote or hinder justice in health outcomes, we work towards fulfillment of the human right to health.
We are committed to the beliefs that:
Social movements and activism are critical to justice and human rights, improved governance, and accountability.
Research should be generated in partnership with affected individuals to influence the governance standards that affect their lives and livelihoods at the intergovernmental or national level.
Corporate accountability and transparency are vital to public health.
Marta Schaaf and Emily Maistrellis with colleagues at the Center for Research on Environment, Population, & Health Activities (CREPHA) in Nepal, where they participated in a training for researchers to collect data on the impact of the Global Gag Rule (GGR).
GHJG seeks to convene interdisciplinary collaborations across the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, engaging both scholars and practitioners with expertise in human rights, public health, the social sciences, and the natural sciences. In partnership with community-level actors, we will draw on emerging and innovative work in public health and development, including qualitative and quantitative approaches to systems thinking, “doing development differently,” health and human rights, accountability, health systems policy and research, and social epidemiology. Faculty will interrogate where governance is missing, as, for example, in environmental degradation and its impacts on health. We seek to determine whether existing standards are sufficient or if they are creating injustice by compounding inequality and undermining the right to health. While GHJG has formulated objectives in each of the three domains of food, gender, and the environment, the program will work to recognize how the intersection of the three domains impacts the fulfillment of the right to health.
The program will disrupt global governance policies and structures that lead to injustice and poor health outcomes. Together, with our global partners, we aim to:
Identify and evaluate ways in which current legal and governance systems fail to protect public health.
Advance, within a human rights framework, potential interventions in legal and global governance approaches to improve public health, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.
Increase the application of human rights principles in global health governance.
Recent News and Publications
The Global Health Justice and Governance Program and partners signed a letter linked here urging President Biden and his administration to support the temporary waiver of relevant Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) rules, as first proposed by India and South Africa at the World Trade Organization (WTO). Swift adoption of the temporary waiver is crucial to ensure all countries achieve equitable access to sufficient COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics to end the pandemic and restart the global economy. You can also view the letter on PopFam Chair and GHJG Director Terry McGovern's Medium page.
STAT News, April 2021: "End fracking exemptions, a threat to maternal and public health" by Terry McGovern, Chelsea Clinton, and Micaela Martinez. View on the Mailman School site here.
Missing in Action: COVID-19 Response Funding for Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRHR) in Five Countries
Colombia 2020: Impacts of COVID-19 on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) Programs and Services
Colombia 2020: Impactos del COVID-19 sobre programas y servicios en Violencia Basada en Género (VBG) y Derechos y Salud Sexual y Reproductiva (DSSR)
Kenya 2020: Impacts of COVID-19 on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) Programs and Services
Uganda 2020: Impacts of COVID-19 on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) Programs and Services
Feminist Economics, December 2020: “Exploring the Linkages Between Women’s Paid and Unpaid Work and Their Experiences of Intimate Partner and Non-Partner Violence in Nepal” by Neetu A John.
Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters Journal, October 2020: “Foreign ideology vs. national priority: impacts of the US Global Gag Rule on Nepal’s sexual and reproductive healthcare system” by Jyotsna Tamang, Aagya Khanal, Anand Tamang, Naomi Gaspard, Maggie Magee, Marta Schaaf, Terry McGovern & Emily Maistrellis.
Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters Journal, October 2020: “Slowing progress: the US Global Gag Rule undermines access to contraception in Madagascar” by Lantonirina Ravaoarisoa, Mamy Jean Jacques Razafimahatratra, Mamy Andrianina Rakotondratsara, Naomi Gaspard, Marie Rolland Ratsimbazafy, Jean Florent Rafamantanantsoa, Voahanginirina Ramanantsoa, Marta Schaaf, Anne-Caroline Midy & Sara E Casey.
Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters Journal, October 2020: “Operational reality: the Global Gag Rule impacts sexual and reproductive health in humanitarian settings” by Meghan C Gallagher, Jamie M Vernaelde & Sara E Casey.
Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters Journal, August 2020: “Foreign assistance or attack? Impact of the expanded Global Gag Rule on sexual and reproductive health and rights in Kenya” by Boniface Ayanbekongshie Ushie, Kenneth Juma, Grace Kimemia, Maggie Magee, Emily Maistrellis, Terry McGovern & Sara E Casey.
Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters Journal, August 2020: “From bad to worse: global governance of abortion and the Global Gag Rule” by Terry McGovern, Marta Schaaf, Emily Battistini, Emily Maistrellis, Kathryn Gibb & Sara E Casey.
The Lancet, April 2020: "Centering sexual and reproductive health and justice in the global COVID-19 response" by Kelli Stidham Hall, Goleen Samari, Samantha Garbers, Sara E Casey, Dazon Dixon Diallo, Miriam Orcutt, Rachel T Moresky, Micaela Elvira Martinez, and Terry McGovern.
The Hill, February 2020: "We must repeal the Global Gag Rule to protect girls’ and women’s lives" by Terry McGovern.
BMJ, October 2019: "Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance’? Towards a framework for assessing the health systems impact of the expanded Global Gag Rule" by Marta Schaaf, Emily Maistrellis, Hana Thomas, Bergen Cooper and the GGR Working Group.
The Hill, May 2019: "Sexual Assault Survivors Could Lose Health Access Under Trump" by Terry McGovern
SIPA Journal of International Affairs, March 2019: "The Global Gag Rule and Closing Civil Society Space for Sexual and Reproductive Rights" by Marta Schaaf, Emily Maistrellis, Terry McGovern, and Latanya Mapp Frett
Sexual Health and Reproductive Matters Journal, March 2019: "Women's Empowerment in Egypt: the reliability of a complex construct" by Goleen Samari
International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, Jaunuary 2019: "Pharmacy Provision of Medication Abortion in Nepal: Pharmacy Owner and Worker Perspectives" by Goleen Samari et al.
The Lancet, December 2018: "The UCL-Lancet Commission on Migration and Health: the health of a world on the move" by Lancet Commissioners, including Terry McGovern
Health and Human Rights Journal, November 2018: "Does Information and Communications Technology Add Value to Citizen-Led Accountability Initiatives in Health? Experiences in India and Guatemala" by Marta Schaaf et al.