Mr. Dainius Puras is a Distinguised Visitor with the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law.
The United Nations Human Rights Council appointed Mr. Puras, from Lithuania, as Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health at its twenty-sixth session in June 2014. Mr Puras, a medical doctor with notable expertise on mental health and child health, took up his functions as Special Rapporteur on August 1st, 2014.
Mr Puras is a Professor and the Head of the Centre for Child Psychiatry Social Paediatrics at Vilnius University, and teaches at the Faculty of Medicine, Institute of International relations and political science and Faculty of Philosophy of Vilnius University, Lithuania. He is also a visiting Professor at the Ilia State University, Georgia. As a medical doctor, he serves as a consultant at the Child Development Center, at Vilnius University Hospital.
Mr. Puras is a human rights advocate who has been actively involved during the last 30 years in the process of transforming public health policies and services, with special focus on the rights of children, persons with mental disabilities, and other vulnerable groups. He was the founder of the Lithuanian society of families with children who have intellectual disabilities; the first President of the Lithuanian Psychiatric Association; the Dean of Faculty of Medicine of Vilnius University; and the Chairman of the board of two non-governmental organizations in Lithuania, the Global Initiative on Psychiatry and the Human Rights Monitoring Institute.
As a researcher, Mr Puras has led and actively participated in projects at the national and international level in areas such as mental health policies and services, policies and services for children and families at risk, rights and needs of children with developmental disabilities, and prevention of violence. Mr Puras works closely with different stakeholders for the translation of scientific evidence into effective policies and practices through the application of modern human rights and public health approaches.
Between 2007 and 2011, Mr Puras served as a member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. He has been an independent expert and consultant to numerous Governments, NGOs, and UN agencies and programs in the field of the right to health. He is the author of over 60 scientific publications covering issues such as public health, mental health, public health policy, disabilities, and prevention of violence.