July 30, 2010
Since launching six years ago, the Center has focused its efforts nationally. Now it is primed for an international push. "Many faculty members are already focusing their individual efforts though a wider, international lens," said Center Director Charity Scott, whose interests include establishing an international health law program with India.
Associate Professor Jonathan Todres, who teaches international law courses on children’s rights and health law, is regularly quoted in the press. Recently, he was on Voice of America talking about how the U.S. is one of two countries yet to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. He is a co-author of a book which examines the treaty’s potential national impact. His book was the subject of a recent review which urged President Barack Obama to "read this book" and called on the U.S. to join the treaty.
Todres was invited by the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on HumanTrafficking to participate in its REACH initiative aimed at developing a betterunderstanding of the realities of human trafficking from Asia to other parts of the world. Todres explained, "The Initiative’s goal is to create more effective tools for assisting victims of trafficking and preventing such exploitation."
As part of this project, Professor Todres led a law student research team in researching human trafficking from the Greater Mekong Sub-Region to the U.S. The team produced a number of reports examining sex and labor trafficking in the U.S. and detailing responses by federal and state governments and non-governmental organizations.
Professor Paul Lombardo, a scholar of health law and bioethics, said that his work presents many opportunities to share knowledge internationally and understand how other countries approach ethical issues. A team of doctors from Emory University recently invited him to speak at a Bioethics Symposium in Moscow, Russia, where he lectured on reproductive ethics and the regulation of scientific research. "The Russian doctors discussed the role of women, birth control, abortion and related subjects," he said.
While serving on the ethics review panel for the Shanghai Health Study, Lombardo monitored the study’s progress to ensure it met U.S. and international standards for ethical research. "There are enormous cultural and language differences between our countries," he said. "It gave me a greater understanding of how difficult it is to do research in a country as large and complex as China."
At the invitation of a former student, Lombardo also traveled to the Sindh Institute for Medical Sciences in Karachi, Pakistan to teach a master’s level class in health law and bioethics.
Jerri Nims Rooker, Associate Director of the Center, sits on the board of directors for the Georgia Asylum and Immigration Network (GAIN). She explained that Atlanta is home to an immigrant population from all over the world, and GAIN’s mission is to ensure quality pro bono legal representation for persecuted or abused immigrants seeking asylum or comparable immigration relief in the U.S. Besides providing oversight for the organization, Nims Rooker develops opportunities for GSU law students to volunteer or intern with GAIN.
One recent case involves Afghani sisters who are seeking asylum in the U.S. after converting to Christianity. Their family disowned them and they were warned against coming home inan effort to avoid an honor-killing. Nims Rooker said, "GAIN’s services are imperative to protect international victims of persecution and crimes like human trafficking. Without GAIN’s free legal assistance, many victims would be treated as criminals."
Professor Sylvia Caley took part in one of the College of Law’s first international study abroad programs. As part of the Center for the Comparative Study of Metropolitan Growth, Caley taught international and comparative health law recently in the Rio de Janeiro, Brazil program. The program brings students together from various universities, including GSU, for a summer study abroad experience. Her teaching, she said, led to greater opportunities in Brazil. "I saw some real poverty and opportunities for interdisciplinary problem solving while there," Caley said.
Built on a foundation of interdisciplinary collaboration, the Center has extended its reach through Faculty Fellow Roberta Berry. Berry teaches biotechnology law, policy and ethics, which enrolls law students from GSU and graduate students from Georgia Tech, where she teaches full time. She recently spearheaded a co-authored article on developments in health care law with other Center team members for the international HealthCare Ethics Committee Forum: An Interprofessional Journal on Healthcare Institutions’ Ethical and Legal Issues. Berry said, "Placement of the article in a journal with international readership is a great way to expand recognition of the Center’s faculty and their expertise to an international audience."