The timing couldn't have been better. On June 22, Associate Professor of Clinical Law Margaret Satterthwaite '99 learned that the University's Global Public Health Research Challenge Fund had awarded her $15,000 for a human-rights research study in post-earthquake Haiti. That very day, she was in Haiti, meeting with partner organizations on the project, which will examine whether services for gender-based violence and food and water aid are implemented in a way that advances women's human rights. “Since the earthquake, gender-based violence has become a serious human rights and public health problem in Haiti, with women reporting that they are vulnerable to rape and harassment in the camps, especially when accessing food, water, and sanitation services,” says Satterthwaite.

Satterthwaite's project will build on previous work she has done in Haiti, most recently a study with a project team, led at NYU by Elizabeth Sepper '06, on the effects of food aid and food security in that country. She has also co-authored a report on the public health impact of the lack of a functioning water and sanitation system in Port-de-Paix, Haiti. The new project will be based in the Global Justice Clinic, an initiative of the Law School’s Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ), which Satterthwaite will co-teach with CHRGJ Research Director Jayne Huckerby LLM '04 next year. Students will play a vital role in each stage of the work, and CHRGJ’s Senior Program Director Veerle Opgenhaffen will also be a key player. “With this grant, we’ll be able to use a multi-disciplinary approach to investigate the connections between violence against women and access to essential resources, and to advocate on behalf of the women of Haiti,” says Satterthwaite, who is also faculty director of the Root-Tilden-Kern program. “We’re grateful to the Global Health Research Challenge Fund for its support of this innovative approach to the endemic problem of gender-based violence in humanitarian settings.”

Published June 28, 2010