FXB Center Overview

The François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights is the first academic center to focus exclusively on the practical dynamic between the issues of health and human rights. Founded in 1993 through a gift from the Association François-Xavier Bagnoud, the FXB Center is a world leader in building a conceptual basis of the right to health and driving advocacy initiatives to incorporate human rights norms into international health policy.

Jonathan Mann served as the first François-Xavier Bagnoud Professor and Center Director, from 1993 until 1997, when he was named Dean of the School of Public Health at Allegheny University of the Health Sciences in Philadelphia. Dr. Mann served in that position until he and his wife, Dr. Mary-Lou Clements-Mann, died in September 1998 in a tragic airplane crash while en route to a meeting of the World Health Organization in Geneva.

Daniel Tarantola and Sofia Gruskin served successively as acting directors of the FXB Center from 1997 to 1999. Stephen Marks was appointed FXB Professor and Center Director in 1999. An early history of the Center, “From Vision to Action: The First 11 Years,” published under Dr. Marks’s leadership, is available here. In 2006, Jim Yong Kim returned to Harvard after a three-year leave to direct HIV/AIDS initiatives at the World Health Organization, and was appointed FXB Professor and Center Director. Under Dr. Kim’s direction, the FXB Center engaged in building the science of global health delivery with a focus on the rights of children and vulnerable communities. In 2009, Dr. Kim was appointed President of Dartmouth College. Dr. Jennifer Leaning, an expert in public health rights-based responses to humanitarian crises and the FXB Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights at Harvard School of Public Health and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, was appointed as FXB Center Director in January 2010.

The FXB Center combines the academic strengths of research and teaching with a strong commitment to service and policy development. FXB Center faculty and initiatives work at international and national levels in collaboration with health and human rights practitioners, governmental and nongovernmental organizations, academic institutions, and international agencies to:

  • build knowledge of how human rights entitlements can translate into effective actions for vulnerable children;
  • support partners who are doing the daily work of delivering health interventions in resource-poor settings; and
  • train new generations of global health leaders who can implement and scale up successful interventions that are guided by human rights principles.