Sofia Gruskin, JD, MIA, has been appointed director of the USC Institute for Global Health, Keck School of Medicine Interim Dean Laura Mosqueda, MD, announced in a memo to faculty and staff on March 19.
A professor in the Department of Population and Public Health Sciences at the Keck School with a joint appointment at the USC Gould School of Law, as well as the director of the Program on Global Health & Human Rights at the USC Institute for Global Heath, Gruskin is internationally recognized for her work in global health, in particular her research to foster effective public health policy and programs at the intersection of health, human rights, gender and sexuality, Mosqueda wrote in the memo. She is recognized as one of the founders of the field linking human rights to health and a pioneer in demonstrating conceptually, methodologically and empirically how human rights are intrinsically linked to health outcomes.
Since it formed in 2009, the USC Institute for Global Health has promoted and led global health research, collaboration and education at USC. Moving forward, Gruskin said she hopes to expand on the institute’s work. “By facilitating the exchange of ideas, projects and collaborations we will aim to dynamically address disparities and inequities across the world,” she said. “And by enhancing our strategic partnerships, we will provide opportunities for students at every level to experience and understand the health challenges facing the world’s populations.”
Often working with socially and culturally charged themes, Gruskin is known for leading multidisciplinary research that informs policy and practice, using the strengths of academia not only to create new knowledge but to address inequalities and leverage change within the United States and in countries around the world. Working with academic partners, government agencies, civil society organizations, the World Health Organization and other arms of the United Nations, her work has been instrumental in determining how to understand scholarship of consequence in ways that resonate both inside and outside the university setting.
She is a member of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Scientific Advisory Board; is the founding chairperson of the UNAIDS Global Reference Group on HIV and Human Rights; sits on national and international research and development committees for leading global health organizations; and serves as chair of the Durex Global Advisory Board on Sexual Health and Well-Being. She has served on several National Institutes of Health study sections, most recently a special emphasis panel addressing ethical, legal and policy issues in research on HIV/AIDS. In 2017 she received the UN Association, Southern California Division, 2017 Global Citizen Award.
Gruskin was recruited to USC in 2011 after having been on the faculty at the Harvard School of Public Health since 1999. Since her arrival, Gruskin has been active in promoting multidisciplinary scholarship and training, including teaching graduate courses that bring together students across disciplines. Additionally, she serves as chief for the division of disease prevention, policy and global health in the Department of Population and Public Health Sciences at the Keck School, holds appointments with the Spatial Science Institute and the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity, both at the Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, and she is the convener of the USC Law & Global Health Collaboration.
— By Larissa Puro