Research Papers: Sofia Gruskin

Assessing changes in HIV-related legal and policy environments: Lessons learned from a multi-country evaluation

By Laura Ferguson, Alexandra Nicholson, Ian Henry, Amitrajit Saha, Tilly Sellers, Sofia Gruskin

Public Library of Science One


There is growing recognition in the health community that the legal environment-including laws, policies, and related procedures-impacts vulnerability to HIV and access to HIV-related services both positively and negatively. Assessing changes in the legal environment and how these affect HIV-related outcomes, however, is challenging, and understanding of appropriate methodologies nascent

A Meta-Narrative Literature Synthesis and Framework to Guide Future Evaluation of Legal Empowerment Interventions

By Katherine Footer, Michael Windle, Laura Ferguson, Jordan Hatcher, Carrie Lyons, Emma Gorin, Anne L. Stangl, Steven Golub, Sofia Gruskin, Stefan Baral

Health and Human Rights, 20


Legal empowerment is increasingly recognized as a key approach for addressing socio-structural determinants of health and promoting the well-being and human rights of vulnerable populations. Legal empowerment seeks to increase people’s capacity to understand and use the law. However, limited consensus remains on the effectiveness of legal empowerment interventions in optimizing health outcomes. Leveraging a meta-narrative approach, we synthesized literature describing how legal empowerment interventions have been operationalized and empirically studied with respect to health determinants. The studies included here document diverse legal empowerment approaches and highlight how interventions changed the context surrounding the health of vulnerable populations. The absence of robust conceptualization, operationalization, and measurement of the risk contexts in which legal empowerment approaches operate limits the clarity with which interventions’ impact on health can be ascertained. Despite this, legal empowerment is a promising approach to address the health of marginalized populations. To foster support between the fields of legal empowerment and health, we explore the limitations in study design and measurement of the existing evidence base; such scrutiny could strengthen the rigor of future research. This paper provides a guide to the socio-structural levels across which legal empowerment interventions impact health outcomes in order to inform future interventions.

Human Rights, Health and Development

By Daniel Tarantola, Andrew C. Byrnes, Michael Johnson, Lynn Kemp, Anthony B. Zwi, Sofia Gruskin

Australian Journal of Human Rights


Human rights, health and development represent interdependent sets of values, aspirations and disciplines. Drawing on these domains, this paper offers a theoretical and practical framework for the analysis, application and assessment of health, justice and progress. It provides a simple conceptual framework illustrating the interdependence of these domains and highlights their key features and underlying principles. It then describes the reciprocal interactions between health, development and human rights and suggests how these linkages can be analysed and applied in practice. A Health, Development and Human Rights Impact Assessment (HDHR IA) approach is proposed to guide and monitor policies and programs towards maximising synergy.

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