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National Student Program

Join PHR’s National Student Program and register your school’s chapter.

PHR’s National Student Program engages medical students and other young health professionals from across the United States who are interested in the intersection of health and human rights. The program provides medical students with the necessary resources and training to develop the skills and experience required to advocate for human rights.

Students organize local, direct actions on human rights issues; raise awareness on their campuses, in local communities, and in the media; organize educational events; and urge elected officials to take action through lobby days and by responding to PHR action alerts. PHR student chapters on medical school campuses represent every region of the country, indicating sincere interest in the intersection of health and human rights among young people. Since they represent the next generation of medical professionals, PHR is fortunate to have such a vibrant community of students interested in using their skills to support rights for all.

PHR collaborates with the student chapters through on-campus trainings in human rights at PHR’s asylum clinics at select universities, and by participating in national student conferences. Each chapter has its own set of leaders and organizes awareness-raising activities, educational events, and actions to promote human rights. Students are encouraged to develop their own projects in consultation with the national office, and all PHR chapters are encouraged to seek recognition from their university to facilitate the promotion of human rights education in their training as health professionals. You can learn more about the student program by visiting their website.

The program is overseen by PHR’s National Student Advisory Board. Members of the board bring a diverse range of experience and backgrounds to the program.

The program has created PHR Toolkits to provide students with relevant information and tools:

Statement of Former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large Stephen Rapp on the Proposed Elimination of the Office of Global Criminal Justice (July 18, 2017)

Following reports of the proposed closure of the U.S. State Department office that focuses on war crimes, PHR today condemned the proposal and released this statement attributable to former U.S. ambassador-at-large Stephen J. Rapp, PHR board member: “The proposed closure of the Office of Global Criminal Justice represents a profound lack of understanding of the mechanisms necessary to hold war criminals accountable for their actions."

PHR Responds to Re-Authorization of Travel Ban (June 26, 2017)

“We are deeply disappointed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today to re-authorize parts of the Trump administration’s draconian, needlessly cruel travel ban. It will only sow more chaos and heartbreak. What is particularly troubling about the court’s ruling today is that by designing a ‘bona fide relationship’ requirement, the court is effectively creating separate classes of refugees.

Questions President Erdogan Should Answer Tomorrow in Washington (May 16, 2017)

Tomorrow, U.S. President Donald J. Trump will meet with his Turkish counterpart, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) has long partnered with Turkish health professionals and human rights advocates to investigate and prevent human rights violations in Turkey and around the world. Since last year’s coup attempt, the crackdown against critics and human rights defenders has been catastrophic.

PHR Condemns Baseless Criminal Conviction of Turkish Doctor (April 24, 2017)

A doctor and human rights defender in southeastern Turkey was convicted today for treating alleged members of anti-government Kurdish armed groups. A three-judge panel handed down a conviction against Dr. Serdar Küni, a member of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, who was arrested and detained last October. Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), which sent a delegation to attend Dr. Küni’s trial in the Turkish city of Şırnak, said his conviction is unwarranted and a blatant attack against health professionals who are providing health care in Turkey’s restive southeast.

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As Drug Court Proponents Rally Around Capitol Hill, Legislators Beware (July 11, 2017)

As drug court proponents call for expanding drug courts as an alternative to incarceration for people arrested on drug-related charges, they are failing to address the intense debate about the efficacy of the courts and the need for policy reform that will allow people to access treatment outside the criminal justice system.

Homer Venters: Q&A With a Physician for Human Rights (June 19, 2017)

Homer Venters, MD, MS, recently joined PHR as director of programs. A physician and epidemiologist, he is an internationally recognized leader in health and human rights.

How Drug Courts Are Falling Short (June 8, 2017)

At 19 years old, Joshua Smith (not his real name) was diagnosed with an opiate use disorder. Following several attempts at treatment, Smith moved from California to a town in Arizona known for being home to recovery houses for those struggling with substance use disorders. Six months after he arrived in Arizona, Smith relapsed and overdosed on heroin.

Justice Denied for Turkey’s Doctors (March 22, 2017)

On March 13, I traveled to Şirnak as part of a delegation of doctors, lawyers, and supporters from Turkey and around the world to witness the trial of Dr. Serdar Küni. A well-known doctor from the region, Dr. Küni is on trial for treating patients during the unrest last year in his hometown of Cizre.

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Letter to Secretary of Health Republic of the Philippines (July 2017)

PHR urges Philippines Secretary of Health to undertake a prompt, fair, and impartial investigation into claims of medical complicity, and take all measures necessary to ensure that no health staff or health systems under their authority take part in human rights abuses.

Neither Justice nor Treatment (June 2017)

Drug courts in the United States routinely fail to provide adequate, medically-sound treatment for substance use disorders, with treatment plans that are at times designed and facilitated by individuals with little to no medical training. In this report, Physicians for Human Rights shows how drug courts – designed to reduce incarceration and provide necessary treatment – struggle to meet medical and human rights standards.

Access Denied: UN Aid Deliveries to Syria’s Besieged and Hard-to-Reach Areas (March 2017)

As the conflict in Syria enters its seventh grueling year, Physicians for Human Rights calls attention to the Syrian government’s continued practice of deliberately and illegally manipulating UN humanitarian access to millions of people trapped in besieged and hard-to-reach areas of the country.

Letter to Indian Minister of Home Affairs (September 2016)

PHR sent a letter to the Indian Minister of Home Affairs, Shri Rajnath Singh, regarding recommendations issued by an Expert Committee on the use of force by police and security forces against protesters in Jammu and Kashmir.

More -General Research »