International Roma Day: The History of the FXB Center’s Roma Program

This year marks the eighth anniversary of the Roma Program at Harvard University. Conceived and built by the François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard, the Program has become a leading focal point for Roma scholarship, convening and advocacy in North America and beyond. A key aspect of this, by tradition, is the Roma Program’s annual international conference to mark April 8, International Roma Day. This…

Dr. Mary T. Bassett’s Statement on COVID-19 for the Poor People’s Campaign

At the request of the Poor People’s Campaign, Dr. Mary T. Bassett, Director of the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University, released the following statement on the health equity impact of COVID-19: The United States was woefully unprepared for the COVID-19 pandemic, and now has the worst COVID-19 outbreak in the world. This was preventable. Knowing the inadequacies of our country’s health care and social…

FXB Center Director, More than 80 Public Health and Medicine Experts Call on Governor Baker to Stem the Spread of COVID-19 in Prisons, Jails, and Juvenile Detention Centers

Today, leading public health and medicine experts called on Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to take immediate action to protect the health of those who live and work in detention facilities. The letter, signed by Dr. Mary T. Bassett, Director of François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University, and more than 80 faculty members from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School,…

Op-Ed: Andrew Cuomo, Stop a Coronavirus Disaster: Release People From Prison

Harvard FXB Director Dr. Mary T. Bassett

In a New York Times op-ed published today, François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights Director Dr. Mary T. Bassett, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and Ford Foundation President Darren Walker call on New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo to release people from prison to protect both people currently incarcerated and the staff who work in these facilities. In it, the authors write, “Given the conditions in which incarcerated…

COVID-19: Finding Comfort in Respecting Rights and Protecting the Most Vulnerable

Natalia Linos, executive director of the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights, penned an op-ed that was recently published on the Health and Human Rights Journal’s blog. In it, Linos writes, “poverty, homelessness, human rights abuses, racism, and violence are not inevitable consequences of COVID-19. If they occur, it is because they reflect a moral failure in the way we have organized our societies.” Later in the piece,…

Letter: Aggregated mobility data could help fight COVID-19

Dr. Satchit Balsari, fellow at the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights, recently co-authored a letter in Science magazine advocating for the use of aggregated mobility data to measure the effectiveness of COVID-19 response efforts such as social distancing. In the letter, the authors write: “The research and public health response communities can and should use population mobility data collected by private companies, with appropriate legal, organizational, and computational safeguards…

COVID-19: Observations from Spain

Dr. Sergio Aguayo, journalist and fellow at the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights, recently penned a column about how countries should respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the column, Dr. Aguayo writes about his experience in Spain during the beginning of the country’s response, and calls on the Mexican government to implement appropriate measures to curb the spread of the virus. Read the Viviendo España column here…

New Research on Socially Assigned Race and Health Inequity, and on Mass Incarceration and Preterm Birth

The 2019-20 Doctoral Student Cohort of the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University continues to produce research on important social issues. Is Socially Assigned Race a Useful Category for Monitoring Racial Inequity in Health? A new International Journal for Equity in Health review examines the usefulness of socially assigned race, or the perception of one’s race by others, in monitoring and evaluating racial/ethnic inequities. Authored by…

Op-Ed: The coronavirus could hit the U.S. harder than other wealthy countries

Headshots of Dr. Mary T. Bassett and Dr. Natalia Linos

In an Washington Post op-ed published today, François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights Director Dr. Mary T. Bassett and Executive Director Natalia Linos write about how the United States’ response to the coronavirus is likely to reveal deep failures and reinforce existing health inequities. In it, they write: “The polarized political climate makes the threat posed by those long-standing inequities far more dangerous. At least three social phenomena…

Op-Ed: Greece’s proposed ‘floating wall’ shows the failure of EU migration policies

In a recent op-ed, François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights Instructor Vasileia Digidiki and Professor Jacqueline Bhabha, Director of Research, write about the flaws of Greece’s “floating wall” proposal to deter migrants. In it, they write, “Like Trump’s wall, it will signal the intent to keep out migrants; and like Trump’s wall it will fail to do so.” The op-ed continues to highlight the harms of Europe’s migration policies and…

FXB Center Stands in Solidarity With Sergio Aguayo

François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights Director Dr. Mary T. Bassett and Director of Research Professor Jacqueline Bhabha recently penned a letter to the Supreme Court of Mexico in support of Dr. Sergio Aguayo, journalist and FXB fellow. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Dr. Aguayo was ordered by a Mexico City court to pay a fine of 10 million pesos to former Coahuila state governor Humberto…

Press Release: New Report Evaluates Innovative Approach to Child Protection in India

January 13, 2020 For Immediate Release A new FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University report underscores the need for innovative community strategies to prevent serious violations of children’s rights. The report, “Before, Not After: An Evaluation of CINI’s Preventative Approach to Child Protection in India,” authored by Elizabeth Donger and Jacqueline Bhabha, documents and evaluates the harm prevention work carried out by the children’s rights nonprofit…

New Study Highlights Critical Gaps in the United States’ Special Education System

A new Harvard Educational Review article, “Racial Differences in Special Education Identification and Placement,” examines how the United States’ special education system is failing to serve communities of color equitably from start to finish, from identification to classroom placement. The article, authored by Todd Grindal, Laura Schifter, Gabriel Schwartz, and Thomas Hehir, analyzes the anonymous data of approximately 4.5 million public school students living in three states around the country.…

Celebrating 25 Years in Latest HHRJ Issue

The December 2019 issue of Health and Human Rights marks its 25th year of publication. Celebrating the occasion, the editors dedicate the issue to founding editor Jonathan Mann and to Albina du Boisrouvray, who, as Mann wrote in his first editorial, “immediately understood, provided the means, and continues to share ideas and inspiration with us.” Published by the FXB Center since that first issue in 1994, the journal is now welcoming…

Press Release: New Harvard FXB/IOM Report Highlights Need for Better Support for Young Migrants Who Returned Home

New Harvard FXB/IOM Report Highlights Need for Better Support for Young Migrants Who Returned Home For Immediate Release November 12, 2019 A new Harvard FXB Center for Health and Human Rights and International Organization for Migration (IOM) report finds that young migrants who returned home from Libya to Nigeria often face serious challenges in their efforts to reintegrate into society. The report, “Returning Home? The Reintegration Challenges Facing Children and…

Op-Ed: Treating Stigma to Prevent Opioid Overdose Deaths

In a recent op-ed, Dr. Mary T. Bassett, director of the Harvard FXB Center, and Dr. Chad Brummett of the University of Michigan explain how stigma has hindered efforts to address the opioid overdose crisis. Read the op-ed on Bridge Michigan’s website. Learn more about Stigma and Access to Treatment, the University of Michigan – Harvard University summit on the opioid crisis.

Climate Week 2019: Addressing an Urgent Threat to Health

2019-21 Climate and Human Health Fellow Dr. Caleb Dresser at the Climate Strike in Boston on September 20, 2019. Climate change poses an urgent threat to our fundamental human rights, including the right to health. An irrefutable body of scientific evidence demonstrates the various mechanisms through which climate change directly and indirectly threatens human health and well-being. Agricultural resources and land use have already been affected by climate change; water…

The Migrant Diaries: Vathy, Samos, Greece 2019

Wednesday 12th June It’s unbearable. I walk down a steep winding earth path between small tents and hovels made of plastic, scrap wood and blankets, clustered around smoking fires. There is rubbish everywhere, and the smell of human faeces. At one point the path runs beside a high mesh fence, topped with razor wire and cameras. Inside are the familiar white containers and yet more filthy tents crammed in between…

Trauma as a Border Control Strategy

By Jacqueline Bhabha and Mary T. Bassett The United States continues to pull ahead in a xenophobic race to the bottom, making fear and trauma central to its border control toolkit. The list is long: Executive orders purporting to ban Muslims, slashing refugee admission quotas, reversing well-established legal precedent protecting the right to asylum of rape and domestic violence survivors, the willful fueling of deportation fear among law-abiding residents, and…

Professor Bhabha: States Have an Obligation to Protect Migrant Children

A new International Organization for Migration (IOM) report released today takes a closer look at the deaths and disappearances of migrants around the world. “Fatal Journeys: Volume 4” focuses on missing migrant children. According to IOM data, nearly 1,600 children have been reported dead or missing since 2014 – a likely undercount. Although it is well known that children are one of the most vulnerable groups of migrants, data on…

Engaging with Health Rights in the Field and Closer to Home

Photo courtesy of the David J. Sencer CDC Museum By Carmel Williams, PhD Now in its 25th year of publication, the Harvard FXB journal, Health and Human Rights, has just published its June issue. It is a feat for a journal to not just survive the economic and academic climates of 25 years, but to hold a position of leadership in the field. Because that is what our journal does.…

Harvard Chan: This Week in Health Podcast Featuring Dr. Mary T. Bassett & Cecile Richards

Cecile Richards

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/632666883″ params=”color=#ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”300″ iframe=”true” /] The June 6th episode of Harvard Chan: This Week in Health features a special conversation between Cecile Richards, former president of Planned Parenthood and one of the co-founders of Supermajority, and Mary T. Bassett, director of the Harvard FXB Center for Health and Human Rights. Richards spoke about how Supermajority is working to empower women and organize them around key issues related to gender equity, including…

We Know How to End Maternal Deaths

Harvard FXB Director Dr. Mary T. Bassett

By Dr. Mary T. Bassett A woman arrives at Harlem Hospital in labor having received no prenatal care. The doctors delivering her baby didn’t realize she had heart disease until she went into cardiac arrest in the labor room. The baby survived. The mother, who was Black, did not. Her death was the first that I witnessed while I was completing my medical training. Unfortunately, the number of women dying…

London, 1971: The First World Roma Congress

For the past seven years, the Harvard FXB Center for Health & Human Rights has marked International Roma Day. In a guest blog, writer and activist Grattan Puxon (pictured above) explains the history of this important day. An excerpt of the blog is below. To read the full blog post, click here. An Account of the First World Roma Congress Held in London in 1971 By Grattan Puxon | Harvard…

Powering the Personal Health Record: Catalysts and Barriers in India

Harvard FXB's Dr. Satchit Balsari speaks at the workshop.

Harvard FXB’s Dr. Satchit Balsari speaks at the workshop. On April 3rd, the India Digital Health Net (IDHN), a multidisciplinary research and development initiative established to support an Application Programming Interface-enabled (API) federated health data architecture in India, convened a workshop in New Delhi to learn from the several initiatives across the country that are building components of what may ultimately become India’s health tech grid.  The workshop was organized with support…

International Roma Day: Lifting Neglected Voices

Note: This post has been updated to includes photos from Neglected Voices: The Global Roma Diaspora April 8th marks International Roma Day, a day we celebrate Romani people across the world. Romani people, who have origins in North India, have made distinct and important contributions to Europe and the Americas in many fields, including literature, arts, crafts, music, science, and sports. International Roma Day is also a time to increase awareness…

New Cross-Sectional Study: Primary Health Care Utilization Among Syrian Refugee and Lebanese Women

Lebanon, the country with the highest per capita ratio of refugees, is heavily burdened by the crisis in Syria. As of December 2018, an estimated 1.5 million Syrian refugees are living in Lebanon, two-thirds of whom are registered with the Lebanese government. Previous studies have found that the crisis has disproportionately affected poor and underserved areas in Lebanon, contributing to social tensions between Lebanese people and Syrian refugees and driving…

New Harvard FXB Report “Before Not After”: An Evidence-Based Assessment on Preventing Harm to Children

Most interventions designed to protect children from serious harm begin after that harm has occurred. Preventing the harm in the first place would be a far preferable strategy.  The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – the most widely ratified international human rights treaty in history – recognized this thirty years ago. It requires states to take measures to prevent violence, abuse, injury, neglect, maltreatment or exploitation to children…

Child Protection: Harvard FXB Online Course through HarvardX

Do you want to learn about child protection through a child-centered systems approach to prevention and response? Then our new online course may be for you. The FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University (Harvard FXB) is delighted to announce the launch of a new free online course: “Child Protection: Children’s Rights in Theory and Practice” in cooperation with Harvard’s online initiative, HarvardX. The course is currently open…

One in One Hundred: Roma Value Education But Face Racism in Access

One in One Hundred: Drivers of Success and Resilience among College-Educated Romani Adolescents in Serbia New report on factors for success among Romani college students challenges the narrative of Roma indifference to education For immediate release: December 20, 2018 One of the major factors in whether Roma adolescents continue on to university is if they have significant support from a non-Roma teacher or peer in combatting everyday racism in school,…

Changes to Public Charge Regulations: A Threat to Immigrant and Public Health

Panelists: Andrew Cohen, JD; Leah Zallman, MPH, MD; Lara Jirmanus, MPH, MD. On December 5, Harvard FXB sponsored a panel on proposed changes in regulations around public charge and immigration.  Dr. Lara Jirmanus, Andrew Cohen, and Dr. Leah Zallman presented; Professor Nancy Krieger moderated the panel and the lively question and answer session afterwards. Below is a summary of the highlights along with further information about making public comments and…

Commenting on Regulations, an Example: Proposed Change to Public Charge Ground of Inadmissibility

By Susan Lloyd McGarry Many in the public health community have concerns about the possible effects of proposed changes in regulations related to how US Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security (US CIS, DHS) determines “public charge” as grounds to deny immigration visas and permanent residence. Harvard FXB sponsored an event in which experts discussed those concerns (read highlights of the event here). December 10 (coincidentally the seventieth…

Rapid Needs Assessment of the Rohingya in Cox’s Bazar

In March 2018, researchers from Harvard FXB and BRAC (the Bangladeshi-based international nongovernmental organization) conducted a rapid assessment household survey among 800 Rohingya and host families in Ukhia and Teknaf in the District of Cox’s Bazar in southern Bangladesh, on the border of Myanmar. Preliminary results are available here. The study underscored the alarmingly low levels of vaccination among the Rohingya in Myanmar, the high mortality rate among young men…

Leading with Science: One Year After Hurricane Maria

On the first year anniversary of the landfall of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, several of the senior authors of the May 2018 New England Journal of Medicine paper “Mortality in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria”  discussed the motivation and rationale for the study, the significance of their findings, the impact of their research, and their decision to release all their data and code online. The September 21 panel,  Beyond…

Beyond Maria: Leading With Science

In late May this year, a collaborative team from Harvard FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and Carlos Albizu University in Puerto Rico published “Mortality in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria” in the New England Journal of Medicine, their study which suggested that the then official Puerto Rican death registry numbers of 64 excess deaths…

Fall 2018 Work-in-Progress Seminar Schedule

Harvard FXB’s Work-in-Progress (WIP) Series will start the semester with a presentation from Dr. Satchit Balsari on recent Harvard FXB research with the Rohingya in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh. WIPs are an opportunity for researchers to share their work while it is still in formulation. A WIP generally starts with a formal presentation, followed by a lively question-and-answer period. This fall they generally take place on Wednesdays, from 1-2PM, with Dr.…

Dean Williams names Mary Bassett incoming director of the François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights

Harvard FXB Director Dr. Mary T. Bassett

Today Michelle Williams, Dean of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health announced that Dr. Mary Bassett would succeed Dr. Jennifer Leaning as director of Harvard FXB, with the transition in leadership beginning in September. As Dr. Leaning wrote about her decision to step down last November, “My reasons for stepping down next fall are ones tied to the writing that I hope to do, and the time it…

Roma Resistance: Reclaiming Our Story

Berlin Memorial to the Roma and Sinti Murdered by Nazism /Photo by Dietmar Rabich, CC BY-SA 4.0 By Marian Mandache August 2 marks the Day of Remembrance for Victims of the Roma Holocaust. Between 500,000 and 1.5 million Roma were exterminated during the Holocaust  by the Nazi regimes and their allies. The memory of the Romani victims and survivors is yet to be fully recognize and preserved in history books,…

Harvard FXB Child Protection Curricula: Harvard Credentials with Heart

By Rebecca Shin This past year the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University (Harvard FXB) has broadened its child protection pedagogy through three focused initiatives.  At the end of June, we completed our first week-long Child Protection Executive Education Course, with leaders from UNICEF and their national partners.  Participants from 13 countries across Africa, South America, South and East Asia, Central Europe and the Middle…

Reimagining Health Data Exchange: An API-Enabled Roadmap for India

In July 2018, the Government of India’s policy think tank National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) invited feedback on their blueprint for a “National Health Stack.”  The National Health Stack would provide the digital infrastructure or technical spine to support India’s recently announced National Health Protection Scheme extending coverage to 500 million people. In response, an interdisciplinary team of researchers and practitioners from across Harvard and India have published…

Harvard FXB to Explore Romani Realities in the US

Thanks to a grant from the Cummings Foundation, the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University (Harvard FXB) is launching a new research project focused on the situation of Romani people in the United States. Since 2012, Harvard FXB has implemented an innovative research and capacity-strengthening program related to the Roma, who have long been an ill-treated minority, facing persecution and, in the past, even slavery.…

Professor Jacqueline Bhabha on Family Separation and Migration

Separation at the border On June 27, our colleague Chris Sweeney in the Harvard Chan Office of Communications interviewed Harvard FXB’s director of research, Professor Jacqueline Bhabha, on family separation for their feature Three Questions.  Below is an excerpt from the piece, with one question and answer: In all of your years working on migrant issues around the world, have you ever seen a similar policy enacted? I can’t think…

June 22, 2018 Harvard FXB Statement on US Zero Tolerance Policy

Statement Banner

President Trump introduced a “zero tolerance” immigration policy on April 6, 2018, as a seemingly fail-safe measure to prevent what he calls undesirables from seeking to enter the US across the border with Mexico. He launched the policy to elevate his stature as the defender of an American populace under threat. His account is eerily reminiscent of pronouncements by genocidal regimes dehumanizing targeted groups. Rwandan Hutus described their Tutsi targets…

Letter from the Director, Dr. Jennifer Leaning

Dear colleagues, In the two years since our last report, the major issues that drive our work have become more prominent and more exiguous. As of 2018, one of every 110 people on earth is either an asylum seeker, refugee, or internally displaced. The calamitous wars in Syria and Yemen, the ferocity of the Myanmar regime against its Rohingya citizens, extreme environmental volatility brought about by climate change, increasing political…

Study Estimates Prolonged Increase in Puerto Rican Death Rate After Hurricane Maria

worker with car embedded in dirt

Times Higher Education named this paper as the most discussed academic paper in 2018 through its Altmetric 100 (and the most discussed ever in the Altmetric 100’s six-year history).   According to an interdisciplinary study released today online at the New England Journal of Medicine, the mortality rate in Puerto Rico may have risen by 62% [95 % Confidence Interval (CI), 11% to 114%] in 2017, after Hurricane Maria. The…

Roma Rights and the Next Generation: Alone and Together

By Susan Lloyd McGarry This spring semester Harvard FXB has sponsored or convened three events that brought students and Roma scholars together and suggested some possible future directions in the struggle for Roma rights and in Harvard FXB’s Roma research.. Alone Together: Strength and Solidarity Between the Roma and African American Communities—Harvard FXB’s Sixth Annual International Roma Day Event On April 4, a few days before International Roma Day on…

Do You Know Where You Are Going? (the 2016 eviction from the Calais Jungle)

a reprise from the migrant diaries: Calais, France—Friday October 21, 2016 The eviction is definitely happening Monday. Refugees and volunteers have a meeting this afternoon at the Khyber Restaurant and Annie, one of the long-term volunteers, goes through the facts: The eviction will start on Monday at 8 am. People will be asked to go to a warehouse and queue in one of four lines: vulnerables, unaccompanied children, families, or…

International Moves Can Provide Pathway to Rational, Just and Inclusive Migration Policy, Says Bhabha

picture of Jackie Bhabha talking

Harvard FXB research director Jacqueline Bhabha recently gave the Rethinking Open Society lecture at the Central European University in Budapest earlier this spring. Below is the first paragraph from CEU’s coverage of her talk: “It is hard to think of a time when public engagement with migration policy globally has been as evident or as polarized as it is now,” said Harvard Professor Jaqueline Bhabha, as she opened her Rethinking…

The Question is the Answer: Who Created Flamenco?

Family gathered around guitarist

A personal and political story by Victoria Eugenia Ríos-Terheun My mother, originally from the Bay Area and an American, and my father, a Flamenco guitarist and Gitano (Spanish Romani), moved to the San Francisco Bay Area from Morón de la Frontera, Spain to the San Francisco Bay Area shortly before I was born in 1979. They came with my older brother and sister in pursuit of opportunities for my dad’s…