We must follow California’s example and repeal archaic HIV laws

The BMJ Opinion, 15 December 2017
Author: Sofia Gruskin
“Recently, my home state of California made national headlines when it repealed an HIV criminalisation law and reduced penalties for exposing other people to the virus. It was a landmark decision grounded in science and human rights that will go into effect next month.”
Find article here.

Transgender health: a call to make the “invisible”, visible

MJA Insight, 27 November 2017
Author: Jason Ong
“DESPITE recent media attention thrusting transgender celebrities into the spotlight, the transgender population largely remains “invisible”. This is reflected in how researchers have struggled to accurately define the transgender population, and how legal systems have not protected their human rights. The danger of being “invisible” is that you can be ignored or not acknowledged and, at the cruel extreme, not “exist” in the eyes of society, which has led to unacceptable health disparities.”
Find article here.

An open letter to the Australian Parliament regarding the health of asylum seekers and refugees on Manus Island

MJA Insight, 27 November 2017
Author: David Watters et al.
“We are senior Australian clinicians who write in our individual capacity to express our concerns about the ongoing health and well-being of the former detainees still based on Manus Island and now in alternative accommodation. They, like all human beings, have a universal right – enshrined in the United Nations charter – to health and well-being. Their political and citizenship status should not affect this right. All politicians regardless of their political party should respect the human right to health and themselves be strong advocates of “health for all” without discrimination.”
Find letter here.

Upcoming panel discussion, ‘Beyond Empathy: Responsibility in a post-truth world’

The Sydney Jewish Museum together with Sydney Health Ethics at the University of Sydney invite you to a panel discussion, ‘Beyond Empathy: Responsibility in a post-truth world’.

“Can empathy be taught? Is empathy a solution to human rights abuses? In a world where ambiguity and misinformation is used to shape public debate, this panel will examine how and why empathy might be important. Please come and join the discussion at this thought-provoking event.”

Panel:
Hagar Cohen: award-winning ABC journalist with the ‘Background Briefing’ program.
Father Bob Maguire: an Australian Roman Catholic Priest, community worker and media personality. Bob is actively engaged in Fr Bob Maguire Foundation that serves more than 45,000 hot meals and 8,000 hampers a year.
Dr Gary Galambos: a psychiatrist at St Vincent’s Hospital, with a special interest in anxiety, mood and psychotic disorders, bipolar, depression and dysthymic disorder. Gary is also a Senior Lecturer at UNSW.
Moderator: Michael Robertson, clinical associate professor, Sydney Health Ethics, The University of Sydney.

When: Sunday, 29 October 2017 at 10:30am
Where: Sydney Jewish Museum, 148 Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst NSW

Click here for more information.

Peng v NSW Health Pathology [2017] NSWCATAD 288

Decision date: 28 September 2017
“HUMAN RIGHTS – disability discrimination in employment – where President of the Anti-Discrimination Board has declined a complaint of disability discrimination in employment as lacking in substance – where employer relies on unjustifiable hardship exception – whether it is fair and just for leave to be given for complaint to proceed.”
Find decision here.

Upcoming panel discussion, ‘Beyond Empathy: Responsibility in a post-truth world’

The Sydney Jewish Museum together with Sydney Health Ethics at the University of Sydney invite you to a panel discussion, ‘Beyond Empathy: Responsibility in a post-truth world’.

“Can empathy be taught? Is empathy a solution to human rights abuses? In a world where ambiguity and misinformation is used to shape public debate, this panel will examine how and why empathy might be important. Please come and join the discussion at this thought-provoking event.”

Panel:
Hagar Cohen: award-winning ABC journalist with the ‘Background Briefing’ program.
Father Bob Maguire: an Australian Roman Catholic Priest, community worker and media personality. Bob is actively engaged in Fr Bob Maguire Foundation that serves more than 45,000 hot meals and 8,000 hampers a year.
Dr Gary Galambos: a psychiatrist at St Vincent’s Hospital, with a special interest in anxiety, mood and psychotic disorders, bipolar, depression and dysthymic disorder. Gary is also a Senior Lecturer at UNSW.
Moderator: Michael Robertson, clinical associate professor, Sydney Health Ethics, The University of Sydney.

When: Sunday, 29 October 2017 at 10:30am
Where: Sydney Jewish Museum, 148 Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst NSW

Click here for more information.

Mental health and human rights in Russia—a flawed relationship

The Lancet, 390 (10102), p1613–1615, September 2017
Author: Robert van Voren
“When the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991, new independent psychiatric associations were established in many of the former Soviet republics, and groups of reform-minded psychiatrists initiated projects to discard the old Soviet psychiatric system, a system notorious for its political abuse of psychiatry and characterised by an almost exclusively biological orientation and institutional form of care. Russia was no exception and even boasted some of the most prominent mental health reformers, such as psychiatrist Yuri Nuller in St Petersburg and the Moscow-based lawyer Svetlana Polubinskaya, an associate of the Institute of State and Law who formulated the Soviet Union’s last law on psychiatric help and Russia’s first law on psychiatric care, which was adopted in 1992.”
Find article here.

Viewing Health Equity through a Legal Lens: Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act

Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, 2017, 42(5): 771-788
Authors: Sara Rosenbaum, Sara Schmucker
“Enacted as part of the watershed Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VI prohibits discrimination by federally assisted entities on the basis of race, color, or national origin. Indeed, the law is as broad as federal funding across the full range of programs and services that affect health. Over the years, governmental enforcement efforts have waxed and waned, and private litigants have confronted barriers to directly invoking its protections. But Title VI endures as the formal mechanism by which the nation rejects discrimination within federally funded programs and services.”
Find article here.

Suicide and self-harm in prisons hit worst ever levels

The Guardian, 29 June 2017
Author: Rajeev Syal
“Prisons have “struggled to cope” with record rates of suicide and self-harm among inmates following cuts to funding and staff numbers, the public spending watchdog has said. The National Audit Office said it remains unclear how the authorities will meet aims for improving prisoners’ mental health or get value for money because of a lack of relevant data. Auditors said that self-harm incidents increased by 73% between 2012 and 2016 to 40,161, while the 120 self-inflicted deaths in prison in 2016 was the highest figure on record and almost double that for 2012.”
Find article here.