Clinicians as Human Rights Defenders: A PHR Human Rights Day Conversation

To mark Human Rights Day, Physicians for Human Rights hosted a conversation about how health professionals can use their skills and platforms to document and call attention to human rights violations. The event highlighted how clinicians navigate medical ethics challenges such as “dual loyalty” and promote accountability in the United States. Clinicians spoke to how they safeguard human rights in response to the overturn of Roe, the misuse of health policy to undermine the right to seek asylum, and attacks against health professionals. The conversation was moderated by journalist Rachana Pradhan, a correspondent with Kaiser Health News.

Featured panelists:

  • Kristyn Brandi, MD, MPH is the board chair of Physicians for Reproductive Health and a founding member of Centering Equity, Racial and Cultural Literacy in Family Planning. She is an abortion provider in New Jersey.
  • Monica Peek, MD, MPH is the Ellen H. Block Professor of Health Justice in the Department of Medicine at the University of Chicago Medicine, and director of research and associate director for the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics. She is a PHR Advisory Council member and an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine’s 2022 class.
  • Barbara Robles-Ramamurthy, MD is an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and founder of the San Antonio Asylum Medicine and Human Rights Program. She is the founder and CEO of Saagara and of Teku.
  • Matthew Wynia, MD, MPH is a professor of medicine at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, director of the University of Colorado’s Center for Bioethics and Humanities and a PHR Advisory Council member.

PHR’s medical director, Michele Heisler, MD, MPA, provided the event’s opening and closing remarks.

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