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Alicia Ely Yamin

Lecturer on Law


Alicia Yamin
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Alicia Ely Yamin JD MPH PhD is a Lecturer on Law and the Director of the Global Health and Rights Project at the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics at Harvard Law School; Adjunct Senior Lecturer on Health Policy and Management at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health; and Senior Adviser on Human Rights and Health Policy at the global health justice organization, Partners In Health.

Known globally for her trans-disciplinary work in relation to economic and social rights, reproductive justice, the right to health, and the intersections between development paradigms and human rights, Yamin’s career has bridged academia and activism. She has lived in Latin America and East Africa for much of her professional life and worked with local advocacy organizations, including co-founding a program on health and human rights in the Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos (Lima, Peru; 1999).

Yamin was appointed by the UN Secretary General as one of ten international experts to the Independent Accountability Panel for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health in the Sustainable Development Goals (2016-2021). She was the chief consultant to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and drafter of the ‘Technical guidance on the application of a human-rights based approach to the implementation of policies and programmes to reduce preventable maternal morbidity and mortality,’ the first guidance on a ‘human rights-based approach to health’ to be adopted by the UN Human Rights Council. Yamin has served on numerous other UN, WHO and other global expert committees. She currently serves on WHO Global Advisory Group on Legislating Maternal Perinatal Death Surveillance and the Lancet Commission on Arctic and Northern Health.

Yamin regularly provides testimony and guidance to tribunals and legislative bodies around the globe, in relation to the application of international and comparative law to health and sexual and reproductive rights issues. In 2011, Yamin was named by the Colombian Constitutional Court as an Independent Expert on the implementation of T-760/08, a major structural judgment that led to significant health system reform In Colombia. She was also the only non-Kenyan appointed to the oversight committee for health matters of the Constitutional Implementation Commission in relation to the 2010 Kenyan Constitution.

From 2009-2015, Yamin served as Chair of the Board of the Center for Economic and Social Rights (Vice-Chair, 2001-08), and continues to serve on the Advisory Board. She is a current and founding member of the Global Health Law Consortium, as well as Senior Associated Researcher of the Centre on Law and Social Transformation. Yamin also sits on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Bergen Centre on Ethics and Priority Setting (B-CEPS), as well as on the international advisory boards of the RedAAS (Argentine Safe Abortion Access Network) and the Proyecto Mirar (monitoring implementation of Law 27.610, which legalized abortion in Argentina).
Yamin holds Juris Doctor and Master’s in Public Health degrees from Harvard University, and a Doctorate in Law from the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina. She has edited and authored over a dozen books and UN reports, as well as close to 200 articles in law, policy and public health/medical journals, in both English and Spanish. Her work has also been translated into French, Korean, Portuguese, and Estonian.

A revised and substantially expanded second edition of her most recent monograph, When Misfortune becomes Injustice: Evolving Human Rights Struggles for Health and Social Equality, was published by Stanford University Press in 2023.

Additional Information

Series Editor: “Global Health, Human Rights and Social Justice,” Brill/Nijhoff Publishers [2022]

Fulbright Senior Specialist, Institute of International Education [2019-Present]

Visiting Scholar, Institute of Advanced Study of the Americas, University of Miami

Joseph P. Flom Academic Fellow on Global Health and Human Rights, Harvard Law School [2007-09; renewed 2009-2011]

Distinguished Visitor, Urban Morgan Institute of Human Rights, University of Cincinnati College of Law [2003]

Echoing Green Foundation Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship [1991-1993]


  • M.P.H. Law and Public Health Harvard School of Public Health, 1996
  • J.D. Harvard Law School, 1991
  • A.B. Sociology, Latin American Literature Harvard College, 1987
  • Ph.D. International Law University of Buenos Aires, 2021

Academic Appointment and Employment History

  • Adjunct Senior Lecturer, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health (2021 - Present)
    Health Policy and Management
  • Research Leader, UiB-CMI Centre on Law and Social Transformation (2021 - Present)
    ‘Gender, Sexuality and the Law’
    Bergen, Norway
  • Senior Advisor, Bergen Center for Ethics and Priority Setting (2020 - Present)
    Bergen, Norway
  • Adjunct Lecturer on Global Health and Population, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health (2016 - 2021)
  • Visiting Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center (2016 - 2018)
    Washington DC
  • Visiting Professor, University of Connecticut (2015 - 2016)
    Gladstein Distinguished Professor of Human Rights
  • Lecturer on Law and Global Health, Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health (2011 - 2016)
  • Senior Fellow in Global Health and Rights,, Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology (2011 - 2016)
  • Director, Joint JD/MPH Program, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health (2011 - 2016)
  • Policy Director, Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights Office (2011 - 2014)
  • Adjunct Associate Professor of Human Rights Law, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University (2010 - 2011)
  • Adjunct Lecturer, Health Policy and Management, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health (2010 - 2011)
  • Special Advisor, Amnesty International (2007 - 2011)
  • Director of Research and Investigations, Physicians for Human Rights (2005 - 2007)
  • Instructor, Health Policy and Management, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health (2003 - 2008)
    2003-2005, Montevideo Uruguay
  • Assistant Professor of Clinical Public Health, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University (1996 - 2002)
    Law and Policy Project. 1998-2003, Lima Peru
    New York
  • Staff Attorney, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University (1996 - 2002)
    Law and Policy Project. 1998-2003, Lima Peru
    New York
  • Associate (3rd -5th year), Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton (1993 - 1995)
    New York
  • Visiting Professor and Research Scholar, Department of Social Anthropology, Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia (1991 - 1993)
    Mexico City, Mexico
  • Legal Associate, Department of Human Rights of Archdiocese (1991 - 1993)
    Mexico City, Mexico
  • Legal Analyst, Human Rights Watch (Americas Division) (1991 - 1993)
    Mexico City, Mexico

Bar Admissions

  • NYS First District (1992, inactive)
  • Washington DC (1992, inactive)

Board Memberships

  • Member, Advisory Board, Proyecto mirar (Observatory on Implementation of Law 27.610 of 2020), (2021 - Present)
  • Member, International Advisory Board, Argentine Network for Safe Abortion Access (RedAAS) (2019 - Present)
  • Board Member, Women in Global Health (2018 - Present)
  • Advisory Council Chair (2009-2015); Vice-Chair (2001-2008); Member (2015-Present), Center for Economic and Social Rights (2009 - Present)

Honors and Awards

  • “Smart Cookie” Award (Awards)
    In recognition of global work to establish maternal mortality as a human rights, January 2009
  • Ivan and Janice Stone Honorary Lectureship (Other)
    Beloit College, January 2010

Representative Publications

View all publications by Alicia Ely Yamin