Palestine Program for Health and Human Rights

The Palestine Program for Health and Human Rights is an academic hub engaging in a broadly collaborative justice and rights-based approach in the study of Palestinian health through knowledge production, education, and multidisciplinary community engagement. Addressing the drivers of health inequities for Palestinians requires a multidisciplinary approach across the fields of public health, human rights, law, politics, history, and the social sciences. The Palestine Program’s cross-disciplinary engagement seeks to produce scholarship aimed at elucidating and addressing the structural determinants of health for Palestinians in the occupied territory, Israel, and the diaspora and supporting the next generation of public health and medical practitioners committed to improving the future of Palestinian health.

Birzeit University logoThe Palestine Program for Health and Human Rights is a collaboration between the FXB Center and the Institute of Community and Public Health at Birzeit University that utilizes a decolonial framework in program development, leadership, and engagement. This framework involves surfacing, examining, and working to dismantle power dynamics and structures that perpetuate inequities in knowledge production and dissemination between Global North and Global South institutions.

Palestine Social Medicine Intensive Summer Course

In July 2023, the Palestine Program for Health and Human Rights hosted its inaugural Palestine Social Medicine Course at the Institute of Community and Public Health at Birzeit University in partnership with the World Health Organization – office for the occupied Palestinian territory. The overall objective of the course was to develop critical engagement with and understanding of the social and structural drivers of health in Palestinian society.

A total of 30 Palestinian and Harvard students participated in the course. The Palestinian student cohort was selected with the goal of promoting broad Palestinian health student engagement across all historically fragmented geographies in Palestine. The course included 5 field visits, lectures, and guest speakers from over 20 local and international organizations and institutions. Read about the 2023 course here.

Applications for the 2024 cohort of the summer course are now closed.

More information

2023-2024 Health and Human Rights Fellow

Sawsan Abdulrahim, PhD, MPHSawsan Abdulrahim, PhD, MPH (she/her) is being hosted by the Palestine Program for Health and Human Rights as the program’s first in-residence Health and Human Rights Fellow. Dr. Abdulrahim’s work centers human rights principles to illuminate and act upon social inequities in health across the life course, with a focus on refugee populations and labor migrants in the Arab region and beyond. Her substantive research areas include migration and health; the syndemic of early marriage and mental distress in forced displacement; and aging and the wellbeing of women migrant care workers.

Based at the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University, this fully funded one year fellowship provides an exceptional candidate with protected time, community, and resources to pursue their innovative work related to the health of Palestinians.

Applications for the 2024-2025 fellowship are now closed.

Palestine Health Research Fund

Man speaking to group of students standing outside with Jerusalem and the Dome of the Rock visible behind them

The Palestine Health Research Fund supports Birzeit and Harvard students and faculty to undertake research aimed at elucidating the structural and social determinants of health through grant and stipend support. Applications for stipend support are accepted on a rolling basis. Please inquire with for further information.

Programming Areas

Seated woman speaking to group of four seated students in a hallway at Birzeit University Institute of Community and Public Health

Knowledge Production

Utilizing a theory of ‘transformational framing,’ the PPHHR seeks to develop new approaches to understanding the health of Palestinians through historical, political, social science lenses. The program also builds upon widely used frameworks in health and human rights to link drivers of Palestinian health to those of similarly impacted populations around the world.
Man standing and holding microphone speaking to students seated in classroom


Education transects the work of the program and seeks to provide opportunities and educate the next generation of student, faculty, and community human rights leaders engaging in work on Palestinian health.
Group of people listening to man in green polo shirt under black and red arch on the street in Palestine

Community Engagement

The program contributes to the international network of institutions, organizations, and individuals engaged in elucidating the structural determinants of health with a special focus on the frameworks of human rights and structural racism. The program works with impacted communities through academic, community, and educational collaboration.
Webinar: The South Africa ICJ Genocide Case Against Israel: Implications for Palestinian Health


Please click here to view recent webinars.


More on the Palestine Program for Health and Human Rights:

Palestine Program for Health and Human Rights Projects

Follow the Palestine Program for Health and Human Rights on Twitter @PalestinePHHR.