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A Perpetual Crisis: Reflections on Renewed Public Health Failures at the U.S./Mexico BorderIn March 2021, a record number of children arrived at the U.S./Mexico border, challenging capacity at U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities and placing newfound pressure on the Biden Administration to act promptly. However, this humanitarian crisis is not new. For decades, the U.S. has failed to improve a system ill-equipped to handle the needs of vulnerable refugees and migrants. As children await in overcrowded jail-like centers and COVID-19 remains an imminent threat to the health of migrants, concerns about who will continue to suffer at the border, and for how long, require urgent consideration.
On May 13th, 2021, the Harvard Global Health Institute and the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights hosted an intimate discussion on this pressing issue. This conversation built off of our three previous events and report that examined the public health crisis at the U.S./Mexico border. Given the historical patterns of inaction from the U.S. and Mexico governments as well as the evolving humanitarian crisis, expert panelists critically evaluated current challenges and addressed necessary steps for establishing humane border policies.
Decarceration as a Public Health Strategy: Stopping the Spread of COVID-19The second event in our series will consider prison depopulation or decarceration in response to the threat of COVID-19 in places of incarceration. In response to the growing number of COVID-19 outbreaks in these facilities, public health experts, civil rights attorneys, and advocacy groups have made urgent appeals for decarceration. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, prison decongestion measures have been adopted in over 100 countries worldwide. However, decarceration and prison depopulation isn’t straightforward. It raises a host of questions and challenges around issues such as recidivism, racial equity, and support systems for those reentering society.
To examine these issues, this webinar brought together a diverse panel of researchers, practitioners, and activists to discuss the role of decarceration as a part of the public health response to COVID-19 and examine current decarceration efforts around the world.
Reimagining Pandemic Preparedness: Making Equity a Strategic PriorityDisjointed, nationalistic efforts have largely characterized the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The failure by governments to establish an equitable, coordinated pandemic response has exacerbated global inequities. Nowhere is this more apparent than with access to COVID-19 vaccines. Despite the rapid development of life-saving vaccines, nationalism and weak global solidarity have left the most vulnerable populations behind. Given that infectious disease outbreaks will only become more common in the future with globalization and climate changes, identifying ways to ensure equity in pandemic preparedness remains more relevant and critical than ever. On Thursday, April 29th from 9:00 - 10:00 AM EST, we hosted a forward-looking discussion with global experts on how we can learn from the failures of the COVID-19 pandemic response to ensure history doesn’t repeat itself.
LEAD Fellow Spotlight - Aida Kurtovic, 2020 CohortIn an effort to equip and empower more leaders in global health, the Harvard Global Health Institute and the Women and Health Initiative at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health offers a transformational fellowship specifically designed to promote leadership skills in individuals from low- and middle-income countries who will, in turn, mentor future female leaders in global health.
Aida Kurtovic, 2020 LEAD Fellow, is Head of Partnerships in Health (PH) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a prominent civil society organization striving to enable equal access to health to all people and strengthen the health system. Aida brings a comprehensive set of skills, including strategic vision, diplomatic sensitivity, and attention to detail, all of which were developed over more than two decades in positions in international development and health program management, with a proven track record of working in complex and politically sensitive situations.
Watch Aida’s reflections on the LEAD Fellowship and her advice to future Fellows and applicants in her Spotlight Interview here.