Responding to the justice and rights implications of the COVID-19 pandemic

As it unfolds, the Coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) pandemic is throwing into stark relief the deep failures and inequities in our current economic, social, legal and political orders. From our fragmented and profit-driven health care system to the absence of social safety nets, the conditions in which we live are enabling the virus to spread unchecked, with the greatest burden both from the disease itself and from the steps taken to check the virus, falling upon those with the least power. The Global Health Justice Partnership has been working with colleagues locally, nationally and internationally to respond to the health justice and human rights-implications of the pandemic. Our focus is on the public and private interventions and social supports that are necessary to protect the health and rights of the most vulnerable during this immediate crisis and to build a new infrastructure of care that supports our collective wellbeing in the long-term.

Public Health Workforce






Health Justice: Theory to Practice, Spring 2021

This course was offered in Spring 2021 as a theoretical and experiential course with a distinctive structure. The first half of the course provided an intensive introduction to the social, economic, political and legal determinants of health, developed through readings and classroom discussion. The seminar focused on the politics of care, and COVID-19 in the U.S and used a health justice lens to explore the historical structures and policy choices that have shaped the pandemic. The course evaluated the role of race, class and gender in structuring vulnerability, and explored the ability of technical versus power-building approaches to advance health justice and health equity. In the second half of the course, students worked in teams to put their learning into practice. 


  1. Confronting A Legacy of Scarcity: A Plan for America’s Reinvestment in Public Health 
    The students on this team interviewed over 20 public health experts, scholars, and practitioners to assess how we may begin to reverse the course of continued disinvestment in our public health infrastructure. The resulting report highlights the need for a mandatory public health funding stream made available to states and localities and insulated from attempts to shift funding away from public health and explores various routes to achieve that end. 
  2. How to Advocate for Good Jobs to End the COVID-19 Crisis and Address Health Inequity with Recent Federal Funding
    This student team created an in-depth toolkit for community-based organizations looking to access federal funding and bolster their community health workforce. The toolkit highlights the need for a community and public health workforce explicitly structured and supported to address new and existing health inequities, provides helpful talking points when advocating for these positions, and discusses in detail federal funding opportunities that may be used to strengthen our public health infrastructure. The toolkit is also featured on the website of our project partner, the Public Health Jobs Now coalition.
  3. COVID Is the Sprint, Equity Is the Marathon
    The students on this team drafted a set of recommendations for federal policymakers on how to overcome common barriers to scaling up a public and community health workforce and ensure that funds from the American Rescue Plan Act will be used to build a workforce responsive to the health and economic needs of marginalized communities and built on racial equity. The white paper recommends building the community and public health workforce by hiring directly from communities most impacted by COVID-19, allowing for community-based organizations to directly apply to up-front funding grants, and building processes for local community input and buy-in. 

Health Justice: Politics of Care, Spring 2022

This course explores questions of health justice, with a focus on how care is marginalized in our existing political economy and on what a new "politics of care" might require and enable. Students will gain an intensive introduction to the social, economic, political and legal determinants of health, and also to literature on social reproduction and care work. We will explore the historical structures and policy choices that have shaped health equity, primarily in the US. We will evaluate the role of race, class and gender in structuring vulnerability, and explore the ability of technical versus power-building approaches to advance health justice and a politics of care. The course is designed as an accompaniment to the Health Justice Practicum, but students are not required to enroll in the practicum.


Trump’s October Surprise: A Vaccine for Covid-19?

July 30, 2020 in The Nation

GHJP Co-Director Gregg Gonsalves on the risks associated with the rush to a vaccine.

Remdesivir Could Be in Short Supply. Here’s a Fix.

July 28, 2020 in The New York Times

By Amy Kapczynski, Paul Biddinger and Rochelle Walensky

GHJP Co-Director Amy Kapcyznski contributed to an Op-ed in The New York Times discussing that the federal government must work to ensure adequate supply of the coronavirus drug — and distribute it evenly and transparently.

Access to Public Health Information in the Age of COVID-19

July 22, 2020 in Columbia News

By Amy Kapcyznski

GHJP Co-Director Amy Kapcyznski dicusses how we always needed free flowing public health information, but the coronavirus pandemic has made that need more urgent.

The New Lysenkoism in Washington

July 16, 2020 in The Nation

GHJP Co-Director Gregg Gosalves discusses how we have been failed in a time when we were in desperate need of scientific leadership.

Protest and Survive!

July 9, 2020 in the Nation 

By Gregg Gonsalves

GHJP Co-Director Gregg Gosalves advocates for the changes that need to be made now to protect our country.

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In the News

Trump’s Dangerous Push for a Vaccine by October

August 6, 2020

GHJP Co-Director Gregg Gonsalves explains the challenges to the researchers and the dangers posed by Trump with the expectation of a vaccine by October.

The Ad the CT Mirror Refused to Run

July 10, 2020 

To Fight the Coronavirus We Need a Massive Campaign of Disruption

July 16, 2020 

The increasing number of cases of Covid-19, and of deaths, should be scary to everybody,  says GHJP Co-Director Gregg Gonsalves. A direct action campaign of disruption is necessary to bring the changes we need—something like the Act Up movement of the eighties. Gregg is an assistant professor of epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health and the recipient of a MacArthur “genius” grant, and he writes regularly for The Nation about the pandemic.

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Harm reduction guidance for substance users during COVID-19

March 17, 2020

Created in collaboration by the Yale Program in Addiction Medicine, Global Health Justice Partnership, the Sex Workers and Allies Network, and Crackdown. Adapted with thanks from a document produced by 3D Research.

Public health and harm reduction experts offer guidance to substance users on how to stay safe during the pandemic and minimize risk of COVID-19 infection.

Quarantine and Constitutional Law

GHJP, in collaboration with the Workers and Immigrants Rights Clinic is in the process of litigating a case against the unconstitutional quarantines of several Connecticut residents, including two who aided in the public health response in Liberia and an immigrant family.  The materials from the litigation are available here, and include full briefing of the constitutional issues along with several amicus briefs.  The litigation again has relevance as COVID-19 quarantines are enacted, and the New York Times covered the experiences of our clients in a recent piece

Summary of Recent Evidence Relevant to the COVID-19 Response

March 2, 2020

Compiled by Kayoko Shioda, Mary Petrone, and Hanna Ehrlich, PhD candidates at Yale School of Public Health and Rita Gilles, JD candidate at Yale Law School

Compilation of the relevant and representative literature pertaining to the impacts of travel restrictions, quarantines and isolation, and social distancing on the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the etiologic agent of COVID-19