September 21, 2016

CONTACT: Karen Teber /

WASHINGTON (September 21, 2016) The O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University has named Alicia Ely Yamin, a pioneering scholar in social and economic approaches to realizing health rights, as director of the O’Neill Institute’s Health and Human Rights Initiative. Trained in both law and public health at Harvard University, Yamin’s 20-year career at the intersection of health and human rights bridges academia and activism.

“The O’Neill Institute is deeply fortunate to have Alicia Yamin join our leadership team,” says Lawrence Gostin, faculty director of the O’Neill Institute. “She is a world-class scholar, a global champion for health and human rights, and a compassionate leader. Alicia will build the leading center for learning and advocacy for the right to health around the world.”

Yamin will also serve as a Visiting Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center.

“Alicia’s ground breaking work in the area of health and human rights will be a wonderful addition to the O’Neill Institute’s body of work,” says Oscar Cabrera, executive director of the institute. “Alicia’s scholarship and advocacy is already shifting the landscape of global health law and we look forward to working with her to expand the recognition of a rights-based approach to health.”

“It is an extraordinary privilege to join the unparalleled team at the O’Neill Institute,” says Yamin. “The ability of the O’Neill Institute to translate rigorous research into policy and programmatic reform on the ground will really enable us to make significant changes in people lives.”

Yamin is known globally for her scholarship and advocacy in economic and social rights and rights-based approaches to health. She has contributed to the drafting of multiple General Comments by UN treaty bodies, as well as UN Human Rights Council resolutions. She has also participated in landmark litigations relating to economic, social and cultural rights, and in particular health – and sexual and reproductive rights, in multiple countries and regions, as well as to supra-national adjudicative bodies.

“I look forward to expanding the already broad reach of the institute through strengthened networks of universities and NGOs that work on healthand human rights around the world,” Yamin said. “Together with these and other colleagues, we are committed to making great strides toward the normative development of health and related rights, as well as their effective enjoyment in practice.”

Prior to joining Georgetown, Yamin was the director of the JD/MPH program at Harvard University, lecturing at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and serving as the policy director at the Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights. From 2007 -2011, Yamin held the prestigious Joseph H. Flom Fellowship on Global Health and Human Rights at Harvard Law School. Prior to this work, Yamin was the director of research and investigations at Physicians for Human Rights, and has served as a faculty member of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and for the past 15 years been a member of the Board of Directors of the Center for Economic and Social Rights, acting as Chair from 2009-2014.

Yamin is currently a member of the Secretary-General’s Independent Accountability Panel for the Global Strategy for Women’s Children’s and Adolescents’ Health and a Commissioner for the Lancet – O’Neill Institute Commission on Global Health and the Law and regularly leads judicial colloquia and strategic litigation courses for practitioners, as well as advising on specific cases, submitting amicus curiae petitions and participating in expert consultations relating to the application of international and constitutional law to health issues.

Yamin is a graduate of Harvard College (summa cum laude), Harvard Law School (cum laude), and the Harvard School of Public Health, where she received both the Samdperil and Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Awards upon graduation.

The O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University is the premier center for health law, scholarship, and policy. Its mission is to contribute to a more powerful and deeper understanding of the multiple ways in which law can be used to improve the public’s health, using objective evidence as a measure. The O’Neill Institute seeks to advance scholarship, science, research, and teaching that will encourage key decision-makers in the public, private, and civil society to employ the law as a positive tool for enabling more people in the United States and throughout the world to lead healthier lives.