Image of Alicia Ely Yamin
Alicia Yamin, JD, MPH
Adjunct Lecturer on Global Health and Population and a Department of Global Health and Social Medicine Affiliate

Alicia Ely Yamin is a senior fellow at the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics (PFC) at Harvard Law School and a senior scholar in residence at the Global Health Education and Learning Incubator (GHELI) at Harvard University, and directs the Joint Global Health and Rights Project, which is a joint project of PFC and GHELI. Yamin is also an Adjunct Lecturer on Global Health and Population at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and affiliated faculty member of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

In 2016, the UN Secretary-General appointed Yamin as one of ten international experts to the Independent Accountability Panel for the Global Strategy on Women's, Children's and Adolescents' Health in the Sustainable Development Goals. She was reappointed in 2018.

Between 2016-2018, Yamin was a visiting professor of law and senior advisor to the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law. Prior to her stint at Georgetown, Yamin was a lecturer on law and global health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, director of the JD/MPH Program, and policy director at the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University for five years.


Trained in both law and public health at Harvard, Yamin’s 20+-year career at the intersection of health and human rights has bridged academia and activism. From 2007 to 2011, Yamin held the prestigious Joseph H. Flom Fellowship on Global Health and Human Rights at Harvard Law School. Prior to that, she served as director of Research and Investigations at Physicians for Human Rights, where she oversaw all of the organization’s field investigations. From 1996-2002, Yamin was on the faculty of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, where she was also a staff attorney at the Law and Policy Project.

Yamin was a member of the Board of Directors of the Center for Economic and Social Rights for 15 years and chair from 2009-2014 (vice-chair, 2001-2009). She remains on the Global Advisory Council of CESR. She is also on the Board of Directors of Women in Global Health, and the advisory council of the Health Law Institute, which respectively promote women’s leadership and health workers rights in global health.

Yamin is known globally for her pioneering scholarship and advocacy in relation to economic and social rights, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and the right to health. She has contributed to and consulted on the drafting of multiple General Comments by UN treaty bodies, as well as UN Human Rights Council resolutions. She regularly advises on specific cases, submittingamicus curiae briefs and providing expert testimony to tribunals and legislative bodies around the globe relating to the application of international and constitutional law to health issues.

Yamin has published over a hundred scholarly articles on international and comparative constitutional law, development and public health. She has edited and written multiple books, in both English and Spanish. Her recent book, Power, Suffering and the Struggle for Dignity: Human Rights Frameworks for Health and Why They Matter, with a foreword by Dr. Paul Farmer (UPenn, 2016) is now available in Spanish (Editorial Universidad de Los Andes, 2018). Her forthcoming book on the right to health is being published by Stanford University Press.

Yamin currently serves as a Commissioner on the Lancet Commission on Global Health and the Law. Since 2011, when she was appointed by the Colombian Constitutional Court, Yamin has served as an Independent Expert on the Implementation of its T 760/08 decision, which called for a significant restructuring of the health system. From 2013-2015, she was the only non-Kenyan to serve on the Oversight Committee of Kenya’s Constitutional Implementation Commission’s work on the right to health. Yamin has participated in numerous WHO and UN Task Forces/Steering Committees.

Yamin is a graduate of Harvard College (summa cum laude), Harvard Law School (cum laude), and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where she was the first graduate to receive both the Samdperil and François-Xavier Bagnoud Awards upon graduation.


Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health

Department of Global Health and Population

651 Huntington Ave., 7th Floor

Boston, MA 02115