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/rights-based approach to foster Palestinian Health through health research, education, and multidisciplinary community and academic engagement. Addressing the structural drivers of health inequities for Palestinians requires a multidisciplinary approach across the myriad fields, including health, human rights, international law, economics, politics, and history. The Palestine Program’s cross-disciplinary engagement seeks to produce scholarship and programming aimed at elucidating and addressing the structural determinants of health for Palestinians in the occupied territory, Israel, and the diaspora.


Birzeit University logoThe Palestine Program for Health and Human Rights is a partnership program 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.

Palestine Social Medicine Intensive Summer Course

Student cohort of the inaugural Palestine Program for Health and Human Rights Social Medicine Summer course, July 2023. Students standing and seated on the street in front of wall with mural of woman with head covering.

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. Applications for the summer 2024 cohort will open in late Fall 2023.

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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. Please check back regarding applications for the 2024-2025 Fellowship.

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.
Escalating Violence and Restrictions on Health in Palestine: An On-the-ground Perspective Flier


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Palestine Program for Health and Human Rights Projects

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