About this Project
2013 – 2014
This project aimed to strengthen and consolidate an emerging program cluster on Health and Human Rights by engaging faculty in the humanities and the Pritzker School of Medicine to address fundamental questions underlying the notion of health as a human right. Many things have been claimed to be a human right, a claim that indicates great moral significance, asserts heightened stakes, and calls for swift and decisive remedy. But which elements of health and health care qualify as a human right? Philosophers and practitioners approach these questions from distinct viewpoints. Through multiple campus discussions and a one-day conference during the 2014-2015 AY, this project sought greater precision on the application of human rights concepts to health and health care, including a philosophically-grounded position on the question of who has the obligation to meet health care human rights.
As part of the project, the University of Chicago Human Rights Program has partnered with Beijing University, Wuhan University, and Guangzhou University to examine the content of reform curricula in medical schools for congruence and disparities in the human rights bases of courses in communication, ethics, and professionalism in Chicago and in China.
Pictured at the University of Chicago Center in Beijing (L to R): Siwen Zang and Lipeng Yang, two senior medical students from Beijing University with whom the team is conducting analyses, UChicago Research Assistant, Ivy Morgan, UChicago Professor, Renslow Sherer, MD, and UChicago undergraduate, Christine Leung
It is often asserted that health care is a human right. However, this is not true for every element of health care; indeed, it is not true for many elements. The first step in getting clarity on a local institution’s responsibility for its community’s health is to determine which elements of health care are important enough to count as human rights.
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