Tag Archive 'Sujal Parikh'

I have been working at PHR for more than two decades now, and I recognize the extraordinary value of collaboration in the movement to protect and defend the human rights of all people. I’m also convinced that students count among our most passionate advocates. For both of these reasons, I’m writing to encourage you to come to the 2012 PHR National Conference, Sustainable Connections & Collaborations for Health & Human Rights.

Sujal Parikh and Susannah Sirkin photo

Susannah Sirkin presenting Sujal Parikh with the "Emerging Leader" award at the 2009 National Student Conference.

As you probably know by now, it’s being held this year in conjunction with the University of Michigan’s Second Annual Sujal Parikh Memorial Symposium for Health & Social Justice. I had the privilege of knowing Sujal through his active and enthusiastic participation with PHR, and was impressed by the ways he constantly sought to connect with other people passionate about health and human rights. So this collaboration is particularly fitting.

The student program has lined up a fantastic array of speakers, including keynote speakers Drs. Arash and Kamiar Alaei, our Iranian colleagues who treated HIV in Iran and ended up in prison as a result of their efforts.

So I hope that you will join us on March 24 and 25 at the University of Michigan, to learn from each other, brainstorm together, and reinvigorate all of our commitment to the right to health for all people.

Register (for free!) at sujalsymposium.org.

There you’ll also find more information on all of the inspiring speakers that the PHR student program has lined up. They are all interested in meeting you, our student advocates. I certainly know that I personally am very much looking forward to connecting with you in Michigan next month.

Hope to see you there!

Sujal Parikh Memorial SymposiumAs medical students and health professionals, we know that promoting the health of our patients and communities is a team effort. It can take any combination of physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, social workers, and patient advocates working in concert with patients and their families to make our goals of care attainable. When it comes to addressing the systemic injustices that so often underlie poor health, we expand our networks even further, joining forces with community organizers, public health professionals, journalists, lawyers, politicians, and many others in the pursuit of optimal health outcomes. That is why PHR is pleased to announce the theme of this year’s National Conference: Sustainable Connections & Collaborations for Health & Human Rights. The conference, which takes place March 24 & 25 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor,will be held in collaboration with the Sujal Parikh Memorial Symposium for Health & Social Justice, an annual symposium that brings together members of many excellent organizations that work to promote the well-being of vulnerable populations, including:

We urge students and professionals from every discipline and with any level of training to bring their talents into the mix by joining us at the PHR National Conference. You will hear from an exceptional lineup of inspiring speakers, including Drs. Arash and Kamiar Alaei, Iranian physicians and brothers who were imprisoned for more than two years due to their work combating HIV/AIDS, and who were freed after sustained petitioning from PHR members and allies. Expert-led skill-building workshops will help you hone your abilities in research, curriculum development, advocacy, and social entrepreneurship. Perhaps most importantly, you will have the opportunity to drive change and motivate your colleagues by sharing your research, ideas, and social justice-promoting projects as an oral or poster presenter. Please consider submitting an abstract! The deadline has been extended to February 15. Check out the conference program for additional details. Whether you can join us in Ann Arbor or not, odds are you know many outstanding student leaders who deserve recognition for their work promoting health and human rights. Show your appreciation for students who have inspired you by nominating them for the Navin Narayan Student Achievement Award. And please, help us spread the word about the conference!Distribute this flyer to all of your friends and colleagues so that they can bring their energy and ideas to this amazing event: 

  2012 PHR National Conference Flyer

I look forward to meeting and learning from many of you on March 24 & 25 in Ann Arbor. Together we will develop new networks to share our passions and skills, increasing our collective efficacy as advocates for health and human rights.

Fiona Danaher
PHR Student Advisory Board Member
Mount Sinai School of Medicine, M4

On March 24 and 25, human rights activists from the fields of medicine, public health, and public policy are convening for:

Sustainable Connections & Collaborations
for Health & Human Rights

a joint conference of

The Physicians for Human Rights National Conference


The Second Annual University of Michigan Sujal Parikh Memorial Symposium
for Health & Social Justice

March 24th & 25th, 2012 in Ann Arbor, Michigan

As a former PHR Student Advisory Board member, friend of Sujal’s, and current pediatric resident interested in continuing a career dedicated to underserved populations, this conference is particularly important to me. I am very excited about the breadth of talks as well as the academic and practical discourse that will occur between the many different health professionals and students who are coming. Among the many amazing speakers confirmed for this conference, I am particularly happy to announce that Drs. Arash and Kamiar Alaei, prominent Iranian physicians and HIV activists previously imprisoned in their home country under false pretenses, will be joining us as keynote speakers.

Please join me and others interested in health, human rights and social justice for an inspiring and educational weekend in Ann Arbor.

Registration is free, so I encourage you to register today at SujalSymposium.org.

There you will also find our current conference agenda, a list of speakers, and information about submitting abstracts for poster presentations (deadline is January 30, although extensions may be possible by contacting us). I look forward to seeing you!

Katie Ratzan Peeler
University of Michigan Pediatrics House Officer
Former PHR Student Advisory Board Member

The speaker panels at PHR’s National Conference were followed by a moving awards ceremony that began by recognizing the tremendous lifetime achievements of our departed friend and Student Advisory Board member, Sujal Parikh, with the prestigious Navin Narayan Award. Mount Sinai School of Medicine’s student chapter garnered the Emerging Leaders Award for their indefatigable efforts to end physician involvement in torture through lobbying for the Gottfried-Duane Anti-Torture Bill and publishing about it in The Lancet Student, for their work with asylum seekers at Mount Sinai’s Human Rights Clinic, and for using the momentum from last year’s conference to institute a successful Health and Human Rights Elective (HHRE) at their school. The chapter gave an informative talk that included a step-by-step model for how other student chapters can implement HHRE curricula at their own institutions.

Finally, Dr. Jack Geiger, a founding member and Past President of PHR, was presented in absentia with the Leon and Carola Eisenberg Award in recognition of his remarkable contributions to care for the underserved. Dr. Geiger’s community health center model fundamentally shifted the landscape of health care delivery in this country towards greater equity and dignity for the poor, and it was edifying to learn about his steadfast dedication to the civil rights movement in the face of constant threats to his career and reputation. His presence at the conference was greatly missed, but even in his absence he managed to leave an indelible impression.

However, as much as I enjoyed the talks and awards, my favorite part of the day was yet to come. At the Sujal Parikh Memorial Education Expo, I found that Dr. Geiger’s legacy is in good hands. Student chapters across the country have been engaging in domestic and international research and advocacy to promote health and human rights. The expo covered a wide range of topics, including:

  • Medical outreach trips to Tanzania, Ghana, and Nicaragua;
  • The development of health programs on the India/Burma border;
  • The rights of human cadavers;
  • The implementation of a context-driven extracurricular program on health equity.

The exchange of ideas continued at the collaborative working sessions, during which chapters brainstormed future directions based on what they had learned during the day, and intermingled to derive further inspiration from their peers at other institutions. In the few days since the conference, regional chapters have already begun sharing news of future events with each other, an exciting trend that I hope will continue and open doors for additional collaboration down the road.

Dr. Jennifer Leaning, Director of the Harvard Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights, closed the day with a powerful discussion of the human rights framework as it pertained to the conflict in Bosnia. PHR CEO Frank Donaghue provided the coda to Dr. Leaning’s remarks, reminding us that the recent popular uprisings in the Middle East demonstrate that an injustice against one is an injustice against all, and the sum of those “ones” can change the world.

What did you take away from the conference? Please leave your comments below!

In the months since Sujal Parikh’s untimely passing, I’ve thought of him often. In the past few months, I have been struck by how many people have mentioned that they were inspired by how he bridged his intellectual inquiry with his commitment to social justice. In the words of Susannah Sirkin, PHR’s Deputy Director:

Sujal’s range of interests and commitments to the health and human rights agenda was vast…. His grasp of the connections between disease and human rights, and his engagement with the strengthening of a true advocacy movement for health and rights was always so serious, but also so much fun. His wit and intensity and humility will inspire me as we mourn his loss.

In an effort to respond to students who want to honor him, remember him, and inspire others to follow in his footsteps, I would like to invite you to contribute to two annual academic events that celebrate this link between research and action for social justice.

One is the Sujal Parikh Memorial Education Expo at the PHR National Student Conference this February 12 in Boston. As a member of the PHR National Student Program’s Student Advisory Board, Sujal Parikh presented at previous Conferences, and the Student Advisory Board has chosen to name the Educational Expo after Sujal. There is still time to submit your proposal and register for the Conference. It promises to be an excellent opportunity to share ideas, resources, lessons learned, and inspiration.

The other event has been established in Sujal’s honor by a diverse group of people who studied and worked with him throughout his medical training.  The first annual Sujal Parikh Memorial Symposium on Health and Social Justice will take place March 26, 2011 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Those who cared for and admired Sujal – and it’s becoming clear to me that this includes almost everyone who came in contact with him – are invited to contribute, as are those who share his passion for health and social justice.

Dear Friends, Family, Colleagues and Admirers of our friend, Sujal Parikh,

We are pleased to announce the inaugural Sujal Parikh Memorial Symposium on Health and Social Justice. The goal of this event is to honor the life of Sujal Parikh and to carry on his vision by bringing together a community to advance health and social justice. This year’s theme is: The Social (Justice) Network. See the below call for proposals for further details on presentations and content.

March 26th, 2011

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Register here. The deadline for registration, which is free, is March 12, 2009.

For interested presenters: We are currently soliciting presenters to discuss innovative ideas pertaining to one of the following themes that were important to Sujal:

1) Curricula as an agent of social change: Education shapes future leaders’ views, values, and goals. In this way, curriculum can be a powerful tool for driving social change. Do you have an example of an innovative and effective curriculum related to health or social justice?

2) Defining health equity: A rigorous, vetted definition of this buzzword is critical for the next generation of leaders to advance meaningful change in global health.  How do we, as the millennial generation, define “health equity”? How can this definition guide practices and programs?

3) Innovations in global engagement: Global engagement is rife with controversy and ethical concerns, but these tensions can be negotiated with meaningful results. Are you pioneering a progressive global partnership? How can students and social justice advocates be sensitive to a community’s unique social context?

We hope to have a wide variety of speakers, from experts in their fields to students to community workers. Everyone is welcome to submit proposals!

  • Presentations should be no longer than 20 min. Please see TED Talks for the style of talks we are envisioning.
  • The deadline for presentation proposal submission is February 18th, 2011.
  • If you are unsure you can attend the symposium, please let us know if you would be interested in submitting a remote presentation! The logistics for this are currently being arranged.

For details and the online application, please visit the website.

We look forward to seeing you soon and sharing ideas about advancing health and social justice on March 26th!


Jennifer Bass, Coordinator

Alexandra Coria, Recruitment Co-chair

Katie Ratzan Peeler, Recruitment Co-chair

Pardon my enthusiasm, but I can’t contain my excitement!  I’m eager for February 12th to arrive, in part because I’m looking forward to hearing presentations by our diverse array of Conference speakers, but also because this year’s Education Expo promises to be one of the most interesting, diverse and engaging Expos to date!

According to our chapter members, one of the favorite sessions at the Conference each year is the Education Expo which showcases innovative projects, research and advocacy campaigns created by your fellow students doing exciting, on-the-ground work at the intersection of health and human rights.

The Sujal Parikh Memorial Education Expo is a unique opportunity for Conference attendees to see how health and human rights work extends from the classroom to the local clinic and into the global health arena.  It also offers student presenters experience presenting informally in a research fair environment – which serves as great practice for formal Conference presentations later in your career.

The PHR Student Advisory Board has decided to name PHR’s annual exhibit of student research, project work, and art after Sujal Parikh, a remarkable young man who consistently demonstrated intellectual curiosity, an interest in educating and inspiring his peers, and dedication to research that benefitted the least powerful in society.  This year, and for years to come, Sujal will continue to be honored at each PHR Conference.

As this year’s Conference Coordinator, I’ve been able to see firsthand the unique and intriguing Expo applications crossing my desk.  So far, students will present on topics ranging from U.S.-Mexico border health issues to the ethical and human rights obligations of the anatomy lab to medical missions in Nicaragua and Ghana. Expo presenters currently hail from three of the National Student Program’s five regions (West, South and Mid-Atlantic.)

A lesser-known fact is that many universities cover travel costs and/or offer scholarships to their own students who present at official functions – such as a conference.  Our Student Expo presenters will receive a formal acceptance letter from PHR that can be presented to the appropriate administrators if you wish to solicit financial support from your university.

Apply to present at the Expo today! To review Expo Submission Guidelines visit the Expo Page on the Conference website.

Saturday’s National Conference was packed with memorable moments. Fortunately, many of these moments were broadcast on Twitter by PHR’s Deputy Director Susannah Sirkin. We’ve collected some of our favorite tweets from Dr. Robert Lawrence’s keynote address, a panel on Health and Human Rights Education, and the closing town hall with Rep. Jim McGovern. Follow us at phrTweets!

Keynote: Dr. Robert Lawrence

As one of PHR’s original founders and our current Board chair, Dr. Lawrence offers unique insight into the vision and purpose of PHR.

  1. PHR
    phrTweets Dr. Bob Lawrence opens
    #phred conference on medicine and human rights education now at BU School of Medicine; pays homage to Carl Taylor
  2. PHR
    phrTweets Dr. Lawrence I was history major in 1959 studying #south africa under apartheid; no faculy to advise on thesis http://bit.ly/cGePmt
  3. PHR
    phrTweets “What do you do when you’re 20 years old and no one interested in your topic? You take your thesis and wrap it in front page of NYTimes”
  4. PHR
    phrTweets Dr. Lawrence, “You have to honor great people in history like Steve Biko and his wife, Dr. Mamphele Rampele…” #phrEd
  5. PHR
    phrTweets Lawrence “Those of you studying psychiatry, you know about denial.” Harvard tutor forgot he had opposed history thesis on apartheid #phrEd
  6. PHR
    phrTweets Lawrence to students: reframe issues, channel energy to engage in social issues while protecting time to be best clinician #phred
  7. PHR
    phrTweets Lawrence: Carola & Eleanor Roosevelt my heroes. Jack Geiger, who was first to look at social determinants of medicine in 1960s #phred
  8. PHR
    phrTweets Alma Ata conference principles of 1978 remain as true today as now. http://bit.ly/asdG5u
  9. PHR
    phrTweets Dr. Julius Richmond led US delegation to Alma Ata in 1978. Dr. Lawrence reminding med and ph students of important doc http://bit.ly/asdG5u

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