Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



This introduction highlights the foundational importance of human rights for global health and provides an academic framework for this book by laying out the role of human rights under international law as a basis for public health. Part I seeks to define the evolving conceptualization of health, examining both the shifting focus from medicine to public health and the shifting response from international health to global health. Framing global health as a human rights imperative, Part II examines the establishment of human rights under international law, the implementation of these rights in public policy, and the development of rights for public health. With this development of human rights giving rise to the field of “health and human rights,” Part III explores the recent birth of this interdisciplinary field, creating a field of practice that now requires a formal academic foundation. Part IV describes the academic contribution of this foundation text to the field and outlines the structure of this comprehensive volume, delineating the chapters that describe the normative development, policy implementation, contemporary application, and new challenges in the field. This introduction concludes by reaffirming the inextricable linkages between health and human rights, calling on scholars, practitioners, and advocates to work together to advance human rights in global health.

Publication Citation

Lawrence O. Gostin & Benjamin Mason Meier, Introduction: Global Health & Human Rights, in Foundations of Global Health and Human Rights 1-19 (Lawrence O. Gostin & Benjamin Mason Meier eds., New York: Oxford University Press 2020).