What We Do

The CWHHR works locally, nationally and internationally to promote knowledge and advocacy for the health and human rights of women and girls everywhere.

We offer workshops, trainings, programming, coaching, consultation, media interviews, guest lectures and expert testimony on a diverse range of topics relevant to women's health and human rights. We have provided, and facilitated the provision of, these services to a wide array of organizations on diverse topics related to women's health and human rights including gender equity, the environment, health care policy, diversity, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and community development. 

After discussions with numerous universities and non-profits, Our Bodies Ourselves (OBOS) chose the Center for Women’s Health & Human Rights to carry on its transformative work. The Center’s long history of personal/professional collegiality and collaboration with OBOS, as well as Suffolk’s rich overlapping history with OBOS, created the confidence necessary to pass the baton. The OBOS founders know they can trust the Center’s allegiance to their profound feminist vision and practices.

Our Expertise

Our unique expertise is in the integration of the health and human rights perspective with women’s diverse lived experiences. Our specific areas of expertise cluster into five areas:

Women's Health Policy and Politics

  • Human Rights of Pregnant and Birthing Women
  • Women and Health Care Coverage
  • Women, Illness and Mass Incarceration
  • The Politics of Breast Cancer
  • Menstrual health
  • Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice
  • Feminist Analyses of Infertility
  • Reproductive Technologies
  • Women’s Health Movements, U.S. and Globally

Women's Experiences of Health and Health Care

  • Socio-Cultural Aspects of Maternal Health and Well-being
  • What Makes Women Sick: Cross-Cultural Insights
  • Women’s Mental Health, Drug Use, and Human Rights
  • Lesbian Reproduction and Motherhood
  • Women and Holistic Healing
  • Uninsured and Underinsured Women in the U.S.

Human Rights Implementation

  • Women's Health and Human Security
  • Integrating International Human Rights Standards Into State and Local Policy
  • Sub-National Possibilities for Advancing Human Rights in the United States
  • Torture: The Ultimate Violation of Health and Human Rights

The Arts as a Pathway to Women's Health and Human Rights

  • Creative Processes as Vehicles for Women's Empowerment and Healing
  • Voices and Visions: Women's Empowerment and Healing Through Art and Poetry
  • Women’s Writing Circles

Human Rights Education for Classroom and Community

  • Human Rights Documentation and Service Learning
  • Sexuality and Enthusiastic Consent
  • Using Human Rights in the Classroom
  • Human Rights 101: Introduction to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Nurture Intellectual Inquiry

Comprised of scholars, activists, and artists, the Center conducts innovative, cross-disciplinary research; develops and circulates fresh thinking about diverse women’s issues; and convenes events. We support innovative, cross-disciplinary scholarship, and generate position papers and policy recommendations. We speak to academic, civic, clinical, women's, and media groups on a variety of topics related to women's health and human rights. We provide spaces for people to think through these connections and learn from one another, and we organize conferences, lectures, workshops, and courses to enhance learning about these issues at Suffolk University and beyond.

We have mentored and educated over 100 women leaders in our unique Master of Arts in Women’s Health program. Our alumnae have gone on to become leaders in fields as diverse as family planning, geriatrics, nursing, domestic violence prevention, reproductive rights, midwifery, health policy, and research. They work in government agencies, private industry, non-profit organizations, and academia.

Influence Policy

Drawing on its research, the Center generates books, articles, fact sheets, and briefings on women’s health and human rights-related issues. We educate legislators, policy makers, the legal community, and other thought leaders. Topics include human rights implementation, health care reform, the health and rights of currently and formerly incarcerated women, and issues of reproductive justice.

Provide Community Resources

The Center forges community connections and encourages shared learning experiences. We offer individually tailored classes, workshops, briefings, trainings, and consultation to groups—including teachers, clinicians, criminal justice professionals, women’s groups, community agencies, and journalists. We lead and participate in conversations that shape the discourse on the health and human rights of women and girls.

  • We support, and have provided interns for, dozens of local, national, and international feminist organizations. We have grown networks and built capacity for organizations such as Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, Ibis Reproductive Health, Black Women’s Health Initiative, Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women, and the Silent Spring Institute.
  • At its peak, over 90 organizations were part of our Human Rights for Massachusetts coalition, broadening their perspective to integrate human rights norms into their own organizations while joining together to hold Massachusetts accountable to universal human rights standards.
  • The Center is committed to the documentation of international women's conferences for use by scholars, activists, and the interested public. To this end, we guided the processing of, and wrote the Finding Aid for, the Mary P. Burke U.N. Women's Conference Collection. The Burke Collection is now housed in the Suffolk University Archives, and searchable on line though the Center's website, the Mary P. Burke U.N. Women's Conference Collection, now housed and searchable in the Suffolk University Archives.

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