The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Human Rights Coalition recognized Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) as the 2019 Science and Human Rights Innovator for its trailblazing MediCapt app. MediCapt is a mobile application that helps clinicians more effectively collect, document, and securely store forensic medical evidence of sexual violence to support the prosecution of these crimes.
The AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition selected PHR and MediCapt as the nominee that “best exemplified the Coalition’s values: collaboration, evidence-based advocacy, innovation, and positive impact on human rights.”
“MediCapt illustrates our core mission at Physicians for Human Rights: using evidence to support survivors of violence, ensure accountability for mass atrocities, and innovate throughout our more than three decades of work in the human rights field,” said Donna McKay, executive director of Physicians for Human Rights. “We are deeply honored by the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition’s recognition of MediCapt and grateful for its support of global efforts to end impunity for sexual violence.”
MediCapt is a novel technological tool to advance justice for survivors of sexual violence and torture. It converts a standardized medical intake form for forensic documentation to a digital platform and combines it with a secure mobile camera to facilitate forensic photography. MediCapt aims to help preserve critical forensic medical evidence of sexual violence for use in courts. Health care providers can use the app to compile medical evidence, photograph survivors’ injuries, and securely transmit the data to authorities who prosecute and seek accountability for these crimes.
After several years of collaborative design with partners in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Kenya, PHR began piloting the app with patients in Kenya in late 2018. The app will be scaled up to new facilities in the DRC and Kenya in 2020.
PHR and MediCapt will be honored in Washington, D.C. at the AAAS Science, Technology and Human Rights Conference (October 23-25), which draws attention to the important role scientists, engineers, and health professionals play in promoting and protecting human rights.
The recognition will be accepted by Ranit Mishori, MD, senior medical advisor, and Katy Johnson, program officer. Dr. Mishori and Johnson work with PHR’s Program on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones and play key roles in PHR’s development and implementation of MediCapt.
“We created the Science and Human Rights Innovators recognition to highlight outstanding examples of human rights projects that are original, demonstrate the effective use of science and technology, reflect genuine collaborations, and make concrete improvements in people’s lives,” said Jessica Wyndham, coalition coordinator and director of AAAS’ Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights, and Law Program. “The Coalition’s Selection Committee was particularly impressed by MediCapt for its combined use of technology and science to address impunity for sexual violence in conflict zones, incorporating extensive feedback from collaborators on the ground, and seeking to address such ethical issues as data privacy, security and ownership.”
PHR will receive a contribution of $10,000 from the Science and Human Rights Coalition to further the development and implementation of MediCapt.
MediCapt has been recognized with several prestigious awards from across the technology, global development, and human rights sectors. In 2018, MediCapt was selected as a winner of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Solve Challenge, Frontlines of Health category. Read more about PHR’s MediCapt app as well as our Program on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones.
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.