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Committee on Human Rights: Annual Report 2022 (2023)

Chapter: Addressing the Problem of Violence against Health Care Professionals and Facilities

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Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Problem of Violence against Health Care Professionals and Facilities." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Committee on Human Rights: Annual Report 2022. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27011.
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Addressing the Problem of Violence against Health Care Professionals and Facilities

In recent years, reports of ongoing military attacks against health workers and facilities in Ukraine, Syria, and other conflict zones; lethal attacks on vaccinators in many parts of the world; and global assaults on health workers and public health officials during the pandemic have drawn increased attention to violence against health professionals and its implications for human rights and health systems. To help understand and address this urgent problem, the CHR engaged members of the U.S. and global healthcare communities, along with other key stakeholders, through events and other activities described below.

Protecting Health Workers in Conflict Situations

On March 30, 2022, the CHR joined the NAM and the American Public Health Association (APHA) in hosting a discussion of the impacts of violent conflict on public health and healthcare. The panelists discussed strategies to protect frontline workers, ensure access to routine and emergency medical care, and maintain crucial public health infrastructure. Victor J. Dzau, President of the NAM, and Georges Benjamin, Executive Director of the APHA, provided welcoming remarks.

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Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Problem of Violence against Health Care Professionals and Facilities." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Committee on Human Rights: Annual Report 2022. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27011.
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Forum to Address Attacks on Health Professionals

In early 2022, the CHR convened a meeting with the leaders of national and international science and healthcare associations to discuss the serious global problem of attacks on health professionals, ranging from harassment of colleagues responding to the pandemic to physical attacks on health workers in conflict zones. Due to widespread concern about this issue among the participants, the CHR created the collaborative Forum to Address Attacks on Health Professionals to facilitate information-sharing and joint action by science and healthcare associations in support of colleagues under threat worldwide.

Thus far, 15 healthcare and scientific associations, both domestic and international, have agreed to participate in the forum:

  • European Federation of Nurses (EFN)
  • American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP)
  • American Public Health Association (APHA)
  • World Medical Association (WMA)
  • American Medical Association (AMA)
  • American Nurses Association (ANA)
  • Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM)
  • Emergency Nurses Association (ENA)
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • American College of Physicians (ACP)
  • American Medical Student Association (AMSA)
  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)
  • American Psychological Association (APA)
  • American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
  • International Council of Nurses (ICN)

As a platform of exchange and a catalyst for common action, the forum will work together and support member initiatives that strive to:

  • Connect members of the health and scientific communities working to address this issue and in need of assistance
  • Educate members of professional associations, as well as the public and policy makers, on the problem and possibilities for addressing it
  • Support and defend health professionals under threat
  • Advocate for greater protection and accountability measures
  • Ensure that all measures to address attacks incorporate the experience and input of those most impacted, including historically marginalized and minoritized groups
Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Problem of Violence against Health Care Professionals and Facilities." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Committee on Human Rights: Annual Report 2022. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27011.
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Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Problem of Violence against Health Care Professionals and Facilities." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Committee on Human Rights: Annual Report 2022. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27011.
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With the support of the National Academies leadership and the more than 1,500 Academy members who actively support our work, the Committee on Human Rights (CHR) continues to assist colleagues under threat around the world and integrate human rights into the work of the National Academies. This publication highlights the assistance provided by CHR to at-risk colleagues and advocacy work and events hosted by CHR during 2022 to draw attention to colleagues suffering human rights abuses as a consequence of their professional activities and their exercise of internationally protected rights.

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