Events / Health as a Human Right

Health as a Human Right

October 26, 2022
8:30 am - 1:30 pm
Eric P. Newman Education Center, 320 S Euclid Ave, St. Louis, MO 63110

Institute for Public Health
Annual Conference & Poster Session

Held by all human beings — regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, age, or other status — human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, and the rights to work, family, movement and education.

Our 15th Annual Conference will explore the concept of health as a human right and how health affects the enjoyment of our human rights, while lack of access to human rights can affect our health.

The conference includes a keynote speech from Sofia Gruskin on gender-based violence and its impact on access to the full spectrum of health including health care. Following the keynote, the audience will be invited to participate in a conversation between experts Tendayi Achiume and Mati Hlatshwayo Davis on the intersection of human rights, racial discrimination & health equity. During two panel discussions, panelists will reflect on the positive and negative impacts of health policies and practices on human rights, and what happens when we fail to protect—or even violate—a person’s human rights.

After the conference, there will be networking opportunities and a poster session. Light fare and beverages will be provided.


In-person Attendance

This event will take place in person at the Eric P. Newman Education Center auditorium on the Washington University School of Medicine campus. Due to limited seating, registration is strongly encouraged. Walk-ins will be accepted if space allows.

Attendees will be expected to follow WashU’s public health requirements and any other guidelines deemed necessary. Learn about the current safety procedures for the Medical Campus.

Online Access

There will not be a real time option for virtual attendance. However, a recording of the event will be released shortly after the conference day. Those unable to attend in person, may register to receive a link to the recording of the conference.

Poster Session

Posters relating to the conference theme and public health topics will be on display at the Eric P. Newman Education Center on the day of the conference. There will be a poster session with light fare following the conclusion of the conference.

The submission period for poster abstracts is now closed. Applicants will be notified of acceptance by Wednesday, October 5.


Times are tentative and subject to change.

8:00 a.m.Check-in opens (walk-ins permitted as space allows)
8:30 a.m.Welcome and updates
William G. Powderly, MD, Larry J. Shapiro Director of the Institute for Public Health
Mary McKay, PhD, Vice Provost of Interdisciplinary Initiatives
9:00 a.m.Keynote presentation and Q&A
Sofia Gruskin, JD, MIA
9:45 a.m.Keynote Conversation and Q&A
E. Tendayi Achiume, JD, and Matifadza-Hlatshwayo-Davis, MD, MPH
Moderated by Kim Thuy Seelinger, JD
10:30 a.m.Break
10:45 a.m.Panel I: Human rights in the context of gender-based violence and health
Panelists to be announced.
11:30 a.m.Panel II: Human rights, discrimination and health
Panelists to be announced.
12:15 p.m.Calls to action and closing remarks
12:30 p.m.Poster session & networking (light fare provided)
1:30 p.m.Event close


If you have any accessibility needs, please contact Emily Hickner at We need to be notified at least five business days prior to the event to guarantee accommodation for interpretation and CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) services.

Speakers & Panelists

More to be announced.


Sofia Gruskin, JD, MIA
Director, USC Institute on Inequalities in Global Health
Professor of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine of USC
Professor of Law, USC Gould School of Law

A pioneer in bringing together multidisciplinary approaches to global health, Sofia Gruskin’s work — which ranges from global policy to the grassroots level — has been instrumental in developing the conceptual, methodological and empirical links between health and human rights. With a long-standing focus on HIV, sexual and reproductive health, child and adolescent health, gender-based violence, non-communicable disease, and health systems, Gruskin’s work also seeks to address the manifestations of inequalities in a range of new areas, including sustainability, climate change, and the long-term impacts of COVID-19 and other emerging pandemics.

E. Tendayi Achiume

E. Tendayi Achiume, JD
Professor of Law, Alicia Miñana Chair in Law, UCLA Law
Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, United Nations Human Rights Council

In addition to being the inaugural Alicia Miñana Professor of Law at UCLA Law, E. Tendayi Achiume is a Research Associate with the African Centre for Migration and Society at the University of Witwatersrand, and a Research Associate with the Refugee Studies Center at the University of Oxford. The current focus of her work is the global governance of racism and xenophobia; and the legal and ethical implications of colonialism for contemporary international migration. More generally, her research and teaching interests lie in international human rights law, international refugee law, and, international migration. 

Matifadza Hlatshwayo Davis

Matifadza Hlatshwayo Davis, MD, MPH
Director of Health for the City of St. Louis

Matifadza Hlatshwayo Davis’s career passions include community engagement, the care of people living with HIV (PLWH), and the impact of COVID-19 infection in marginalized populations. Her passions culminated in her becoming the co-chair for the Fast Track Cities initiative in St. Louis, which in collaboration with the City and County health departments as well as major HIV community organizations in St. Louis, is dedicated to end the HIV epidemic by 2030. 

Dr. Hlatshwayo Davis is a national and international medical contributor on COVID-19 with a particular focus on marginalized populations, and has been featured in outlets such as CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, MSNBC, and Newsweek, among others.