Physicians for Human Rights National Conference

Starting Date: 02-20-2004
Ending Date: 02-22-2004

Chicago, Illinois
United States
With the support of University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) will be holding its national conference in Chicago, Illinois.

All health professional students interested in health and human rights are welcome and encouraged to attend this exciting conference!

The PHR Conference is an opportunity to:
Learn new skills, such as lobbying, fundraising, and media outreach.
Deepen your understanding of health and human rights issues like Global AIDS, racial disparities in health care, and the impact of war on health.
Be inspired by amazing speakers, including Paul Farmer, MD, PhD and Jack Geiger, MD
Meet outstanding activists from around the nation
Build connections that you will use throughout your health professional career

The theme of the 2004 National Conference is "The Power of the Health Professional Voice: Human Rights at Home and Abroad." This theme was chosen to span the broad range of topics that PHR student chapters work on throughout the year, and to highlight the two main campaign issues of the conference – Global AIDS and Domestic Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Health Care.

Participants will be invited to attend workshops on these issues and others including: Banning Landmines; Protecting Women’s Health and Human Rights; Influencing Politicians 101; Fundraising; Organizing a Human Rights Rotation; Media Outreach; Promoting Health and Justice for Youth; and Running a PHR Student Chapter. For a complete list of workshops, click here.

One of the major goals of the conference is to promote activism in the field of health and human rights. Recognizing a need for mentors in this field, PHR is organizing a cross-generational panel of health and human rights activists from the fields of medicine, public health, and nursing who range from being current chapter leaders to health professionals who have advocated for human rights for decades.

Keynote Speakers
Recently profiled by Pulitzer Prize winning author Tracy Kidder in Mountains Beyond Mountains, Dr. Paul Farmer is well-known throughout the world for his devout commitment to bringing life-saving medicines to those who need them most. With his colleagues at Partners In Health, Dr. Farmer has proven to the world that we can successfully provide health care even in the most impoverished areas of the world. In addition to his care of patients, Dr. Farmer has become an outspoken critic of the world’s apathy towards the poor and through his writing, research, and presentations has been calling the world to action. Dr. Farmer will describe his clinics in Haiti, Russia, Peru, Mexico, and Roxbury MA which have been used as the model for the World Health Organization’s new 3x5 campaign to scale up treatment efforts around the world, treating three million people infected with HIV by the end of 2005. He will also discuss the role of health professional activism in the fight against global HIV/AIDS.

Dr. H. Jack Geiger is one of the nation’s leading experts on civil rights, human rights and health. As a health professional who has been honored with many prestigious awards over his five decades of pioneering leadership and activism, Dr. Geiger will share his invaluable anecdotes and insights about the role for health professionals in combating racial discrimination within the US Healthcare System. Dr. Geiger will provide the historical context for the new PHR student campaign on Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Health Care and highlight some of the key ways students can be involved in reducing disparities and increasing provider accountability and engagement on this issue.

Click here for additional information about both keynote speakers.

Sunday Training
On Sunday, February 22, Physicians for Human Rights will be organizing a four hour leadership training/working group on each of the two major PHR student campaigns – Health Action AIDS and the new Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Health Care Campaign. All students, particularly first years, are invited to attend one of these optional sessions. This will be a very unique and exciting opportunity to help plan the future of the campaigns! For more information, please click here.

Social Activities
Throughout the conference, we encourage you to introduce yourself to others, ask questions about their activities and interests, and get to know each other. Those attending this conference are among the current and future leaders of the field of health and human rights. Some of these individuals will be your life-long colleagues, so its great to start forming acquaintances and friendships now!

To help facilitate meeting each other, the conference coordinators from Loyola and U Chicago are organizing a couple fun social events that we hope you will consider attending! On Friday night, they will be hosting a human rights film screening and pizza night. On Saturday night, they will be coordinating a human rights social at a nearby bar. Proceeds from the social will benefit a health and human rights promoting service organization. If you have a suggestion for Friday night’s film, or would like to be involved in organizing the Saturday fundraiser, please email
with your suggestions.

We hope you will be able to join us for this exciting and historic conference!

About Physicians for Human Rights
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a member organization committed to promoting health by protecting human rights. Founded in 1986, PHR makes two unique contributions to the human rights movement. First, we bring the skills of science and medicine to human rights investigations, pioneering the use of anthropology, pathology, epidemiology and a host of other disciplines as tools for human rights investigations. Our population-based assessments of women’s health and violence against women, tools for assessing landmines injuries, and other scientific products have illuminated human rights concerns that show their scope and breadth. Our International Forensic Program serves the cause of international justice.

Second, we engage and mobilize health professionals so that they become a powerful voice for human rights in their practices, their countries and internationally. In 1997, PHR was one of the co-recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize for helping to create the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. Traditionally, health professionals have not been a strong constituency for equity in health, but through training, outreach, and support, PHR is creating such a constituency – and it is one that, when mobilized, speaks with great and compelling authority to policy-makers. Whether advocacy is directed toward the release of imprisoned colleagues, to end torture, or to protect women’s rights, or to seek a more just health system, physicians, nurses, and public health professionals bring the prestige and credibility of the health professions to the cause of human rights.

As part of this initiative, we have developed a sophisticated program to engage medical, public health and nursing students in health and human rights advocacy as part of their professional training. PHR now supports more than 60 student chapters in schools of medicine, nursing and public health around the nation which organize a myriad of health and human rights related events, activities and actions on campus each year. At the national level, PHR provides support in event organizing, creates campaign materials and policy updates, organizes leadership trainings, and coordinates activities for student leaders to participate in – like national call-in days, national weeks of action, and national conferences. In general, the PHR student program seeks to promote health and human rights activism and social engagement as an ethic value in the students’ health professional field.
Geographical Scope: National

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