Palestine Program for Health and Human Rights Projects

Terraced hills with stone walls, low houses and vibrant green trees, such as cypresses, against blue sky.
Battir, Palestine – UNESCO World Heritage Site. Credits: Cecilia Zhao

Voices from Gaza

Image of colorful map focusing on Gaza and Israel.

Salam, a fifth-year medical student at Al-Azhar University which was a target of bombardment, talks about the difficulties she faces as a student and describes the humanitarian conditions in Gaza, November 2023. Please click here to view.

Health and Human Rights Webinar Series

FXB Center for Health and Human Rights logo, Palestine Program for Health and Human Rights logo, The Center for Middle Eastern Studies Harvard University logo, Harvard Kennedy School Carr Center for Human Rights Policy logo, Harvard Divinity School Religion and Public Life - Religion, Conflict, and Peace Initiative logo, Birzeit University logo. Webinar: A Looming Famine: Starvation in Gaza. Date: Tuesday, April 30, 2024. Time: 11:00am EDT, 6:00pm EEST. Moderator: Jacqueline Bhabha, JD, MSc, Speakers: Alex de Waal, DPhil, Michael Fakhri, PhD, LLM, Georgios Petropoulos, MA.

Please click here to view a full list of our past webinars.

Health and Human Rights Journal Special Edition on Palestinian Health

View of the Dome of the Rock amid concrete buildings beyond a concrete and barbed wire fence, Jerusalem.

Health and Human Rights Journal logoThis special edition on Palestinian Health aims to explore the conceptual and material connections between settler colonialism and health in the Palestinian context. Themes include the manifestations of settler colonialism such as apartheid, the logic of elimination, and Palestinians’ right to health.  Papers explore themes that include:

  • The implications of integrating a framework of apartheid, settler colonialism, or structural racism with the HRBA to Palestinian health and wellbeing
  • Decolonial and/or anticolonial means of achieving the right to health within the current Palestinian context
  • The impacts of systemic, structural, or direct racism on the health of Palestinians
Read the HHRJ Special Section here

The Past, Present, and Future of Palestinian Health: A Radcliffe Exploratory Seminar

Past, Present, and Future of Palestinian Health

Logo: Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Harvard UniversityThe political prospects for Palestinians have never been more dire, with inevitable downstream impacts on health. While international community engagement that lacks a structural analytic approach risks exacerbating root causes of Palestinian ill health, depoliticized and humanitarian interventions remain the norm. In response to seemingly intractable structural barriers, the Radcliffe workshop seeks to contribute a broadly collaborative justice- and rights-based approach to improving and uplifting Palestinian health.

In this workshop, a small cohort of experts from a variety of backgrounds and specialties including health, human rights, law, social sciences, anthropology, history, and activism will convene to discuss and develop a critical analysis of the current state of affairs, develop consensus statements and publications on the root causes of Palestinian health, and outline a radical future vision for the health of all Palestinians. A joint statement made by participants in the Radcliffe Seminar can be found here. A publication of the statement by Jadaliyya Reports can be found here.

GHP 264: The Settler Colonial Determinants of Health at TH Chan Harvard School of Public Health


Health inequities within and between societies are garnering increased attention, but some historical and structural processes are insufficiently considered despite their significant contributions. This course introduces students to the concept of settler colonialism and its health equity implications for indigenous and settler populations. Utilizing case studies from the United States and Palestine/Israel, comparative analyses in this discussion- and lecture-based seminar will elucidate universal and particular elements of settler colonial societies while drawing causal chains to their perpetual outcomes: poorer health for indigenous and other non-settler (“arrivant”) communities. This course is open to graduate students across the University and is especially salient for those aspiring to engage in public or global health, public policy, legal scholarship, advocacy and activism, human rights, or for anyone eager to explore an alternative framework for understanding the enduring structures that generate racial health inequities in multiple global contexts.

Course Website

Intensive Social Medicine Course in Palestine

Social Medicine Course

The Palestine Social Medicine course brings together a multidisciplinary cadre of Palestinian and Harvard students for an experiential learning experience in Palestine. The course offers both conceptual and practical engagement with the structural determinants of health affecting Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Israel, and the Diaspora. The Palestine Social Medicine Course occurs annually at Birzeit University in the West Bank, occupied Palestinian territories. It includes travel throughout the West Bank and Israel for site visits focused on evaluating the range of health care available, as well as the variable social conditions which contribute to and determine health outcomes.

To supplement existing coursework, the social medicine framework offers a progressive approach to educating on the social and structural determinants of health. The Palestine course builds on the expertise, experience, and curricula of EqualHealth’s successful annual social medicine courses in Uganda, Haiti, and the United States, which over the last few years have trained hundreds of health professional students from these countries and beyond to both understand and respond to the social determinants of health.

The specific objectives of the course include:

  1. Educate Palestinian and Harvard health professional students on the social determinants of health in Palestine and other settings
  2. Integrate lectures and field visits into a comprehensive and dynamic learning experience
  3. Develop student appreciation for the need to be historically deep and geographically broad in their approach to understanding the complexities of health inequity
  4. Build a growing network of structurally competent health professionals to address and champion Palestinian health

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

Return to the main page of the Palestine Program for Health and Human Rights.