Joanne Csete, PhD, MPH

  • Adjunct Associate Professor of Population and Family Health
Profile Headshot


Joanne Csete, PhD, focuses her research and teaching on health and human rights, particularly the impact of criminalization and gender-based subordination on access to health services for people who use drugs, sex workers, and others vulnerable to HIV. At Human Rights Watch and the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, she documented and engaged in advocacy on human rights abuses against marginalized people facing severe health risks in more than 20 countries. Dr. Csete has worked on HIV/AIDS and other health and nutrition programs and policies in Africa for over 10 years, including in complex emergency situations. She was the lead author of the report of the Lancet Commission on Drug Policy and International Public Health (2016).


Academic Appointments

  • Adjunct Associate Professor of Population and Family Health

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • BA, 1977 Princeton University
  • MPH, 1981 Columbia University
  • PhD, 1988 Cornell University

Honors & Awards

Reviewer, International AIDS Society international conference abstracts, 2004-2009

Opening keynote speaker, Conference on Reduction of Drug-Related Harm, Beirut, April 2011


Research Interests

  • Community Health
  • Food Policy and Obesity
  • Global Health
  • Healthcare Policy
  • Maternal and Reproductive Health
  • Substance Use

Selected Publications

J. Csete, A. Kamarulzaman, M. Kazatchkine et al. Public health and international drug policy (report of a Lancet Commission). Lancet 387(10026):1427-80, Apr 2, 2016.

J. Csete and H. Catania. Methadone treatment providers' views of drug court policy and practice: a case study of New York State. Harm Reduction Journal 10:35, 2013.

J. Csete, D. Wolfe. Seeing through the public health smoke-screen in drug policy. Int Journal of Drug Policy 43:91-95, 2017.

T. Shen and J. Csete. HIV, sex work and law enforcement in China. Health and Human Rights Journal 19(2):133-146, Dec. 2017.

R. Jurgens, J. Csete, H. Lim et al. Human rights and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria: How does a large funder of basic health services meet the challenge of rights-based programs? Health and Human Rights Journal 19(2):183-195, Dec. 2017.

4. K. Hayashi, W. Small, J. Csete, S. Hattirat, T. Kerr. Experiences with policing among people who inject drugs in Bangkok, Thailand: a qualitative study. PLoS Medicine 10(12): e1001570 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001570, 2013.

Jurgens R, Csete J, Amon JJ, Baral S, Beyrer C. People who use drugs, HIV, and human rights. Lancet 376(9739) 475-85 2010

Csete J, Cohen J. Health benefits of legal services for criminalized populations: the case of people who use drugs, sex workers and sexual and gender minorities. J Law Med Ethics. 38(4) 816-31 2010

Csete, J. Male circumcision and HIV prevention: a human rights and public health challenge HIV/AIDS Policy and Law Review 12(1) 1, 5-10 2007

Elliott, R., Csete, J., Wood E. and Kerr, T. Harm reduction, HIV/AIDS and the human rights challenge to global drug control policy Health and Human Rights 8(2) 104-109 2005

Global Health Activities

Swiss policy on illicit drugs: lessons for the world: Analysis of lessons from the history of Swiss policy on narcotic and psychotropic drugs, with attention to experiences that could be replicated in other settings

Narcotic drug policy in sub-Saharan Africa: Development of case studies of drug policy in four sub-Saharan countries, with attention to barriers to adopting politics that reflect internationally agreed best practice

Urban Health Activities

Influence of drug courts on access to methadone: Qualitative study involving New York City and several other counties in New York State on the influence of county-level drug court policies on people's access to medication-assisted treatment for opiate dependence