Sofia Gruskin, JD, MIA

Distinguished Professor of Population, Public Health Sciences & Law

Professor, Keck School of Medicine and Gould School of Law

Division Chief, Disease Prevention, Policy and Global Health

Director, Institute on Inequalities in Global Health

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Sofia Gruskin directs the USC Institute on Inequalities in Global Health (IIGH). She is a Distinguished Professor of Population and Public Health Sciences and Law, Professor of Preventive Medicine and Chief of the Disease Prevention, Policy and Global Health Division at the Keck School of Medicine; Professor of Law and Preventive Medicine at the Gould School of Law; and an affiliate faculty member with the Spatial Sciences Institute at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Within USC, she is highly engaged in university service, including serving as a member of the USC Academic Senate Executive Board, and primary convener of the USC Law & Global Health Collaboration. Gruskin was awarded USC’s highest academic honor, a Distinguished Professorship, in March 2024.

Gruskin currently sits on numerous international boards and committees, including the PEPFAR Scientific Advisory Board; the Lancet Commission on Gender and Global Health; the IUSSP Scientific Panel on Population Registers, Ethics and Human Rights; and the Lancet Commission on Health and Human Rights. Professor Gruskin has published extensively, including several books, training manuals and edited journal volumes, and more than 200 articles and chapters covering a wide range of topics. She is an associate editor for Global Public Health, on the editorial advisory board for Revue Internationale des Études du Développement, and a trustee of Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters. Previously, she served as an associate editor of the American Journal of Public Health and editor-in-chief for Health and Human Rights, both for over a decade.

A pioneer in bringing together multidisciplinary approaches to global health, Gruskin’s work — which ranges from global policy to the grassroots level — has been instrumental in developing the conceptual, methodological and empirical links between health and human rights. With a long-standing focus on HIV, sexual and reproductive health, child and adolescent health, gender-based violence, non-communicable disease, and health systems, Gruskin’s work also seeks to address the manifestations of inequalities in a range of new areas, including sustainability, climate change, and the long-term impacts of COVID-19 and other emerging pandemics.

Current research partners include LA Mayor Karen Bass’ Office of International Affairs, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Health Organization, UNAIDS, the International AIDS Society, Durex/Reckitt Benckiser as well as local organizations and universities in Brazil, Kenya, India, Malaysia, South Africa, Uganda and Vietnam.

In recent years, Gruskin served on the board of directors for the Guttmacher Institute; the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on the Outcome and Impact Evaluation of Global HIV/AIDS Programs Implemented under the Lantos/Hyde Act of 2008; the UN Technical Advisory Group for the High-Level Working Group on the Health and Human Rights of Women, Children and Adolescents; the Technical Advisory Group of the UN Global Commission on HIV and the Law; the UNAIDS Reference Group on HIV and Human Rights; and the Global Advisory Board on Sexual Health and Wellbeing. Gruskin was with Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health for many years; director of the Program on International Health and Human Rights and associate professor in the department of Global Health and Population; and co-founder and co-director of the Interdepartmental Program on Women, Gender and Health.


  • Laws governing access to sexual health services and information: contents, protections, and restrictions Sex Reprod Health Matters. 2024 Dec; 32(1):2336770. . View in PubMed
  • Health and Human Rights: What Relevance Now? Health Hum Rights. 2024 Jun; 26(1):7-10.. View in PubMed
  • Under threat: the International AIDS Society-Lancet Commission on Health and Human Rights Lancet. 2024 Apr 06; 403(10434):1374-1418. . View in PubMed
  • The ubiquity of ‘self-care’ in health: Why specificity matters Glob Public Health. 2024 Jan; 19(1):2296970. . View in PubMed
  • Equity in decline: illustrating fairness in a worse-off world BMJ Glob Health. 2023 10; 8(10). . View in PubMed
  • Equity in decline: fair distribution in a worse-off world Lancet. 2023 09 16; 402(10406):943-945. . View in PubMed
  • Systematic review and quantitative and qualitative comparative analysis of interventions to address HIV-related stigma and discrimination AIDS. 2023 11 01; 37(13):1919-1939. . View in PubMed
  • Leaving No One Behind: Human Rights and Gender as Critical Frameworks for U=U Health Hum Rights. 2022 Dec; 24(2):1-11. . View in PubMed
  • Frameworks and measures for HIV-related internalized stigma, stigma and discrimination in healthcare and in laws and policies: a systematic review J Int AIDS Soc. 2022 07; 25 Suppl 1:e25915. . View in PubMed
  • Integrating human rights into sexual and reproductive health research: moving beyond the rhetoric, what will it take to get us there? Sex Reprod Health Matters. 2021 Dec; 29(1):1881206.. View in PubMed
  • Inclusion of human rights in sexual and reproductive health programming: Facilitators and barriers to implementation Glob Public Health. 2021 10; 16(10):1559-1575. . View in PubMed
  • Equity without human rights: a false COVID-19 narrative? BMJ Glob Health. 2021 07; 6(7).. View in PubMed
  • Law, human rights and gender in practice: an analysis of lessons from implementation of self-care interventions for sexual and reproductive health Sex Reprod Health Matters. 2021; 29(3):2105284. . View in PubMed
  • The right to a healthy environment: making it matter BMJ. 2021 12 14; 375:n3076. . View in PubMed
  • Frameworks, measures, and interventions for HIV-related internalised stigma and stigma in healthcare and laws and policies: systematic review protocol BMJ Open. 2021 12 09; 11(12):e053608. . View in PubMed
  • Reflections on 25 Years of Health and Human Rights: History, Context, and the Need for Strategic Action Health Hum Rights. 2020 Jun; 22(1):327-329. . View in PubMed
  • HIV recency testing: should results be disclosed to individuals tested? J Int AIDS Soc. 2020 08; 23(8):e25584.. View in PubMed
  • Global health and human rights for a postpandemic world BMJ Glob Health. 2020 08; 5(8). . View in PubMed
  • A Call for (Renewed) Commitment to Sexual Health, Sexual Rights, and Sexual Pleasure: A Matter of Health and Well-Being Am J Public Health. 2020 02; 110(2):159-160. . View in PubMed
  • Expanding the role of paralegals: supporting realization of the right to health for vulnerable communities BMC Int Health Hum Rights. 2020 03 30; 20(1):8. . View in PubMed
  • Sexual health, sexual rights and sexual pleasure: meaningfully engaging the perfect triangle Sex Reprod Health Matters. 2019 Dec; 27(1):1593787. . View in PubMed
  • A sexual and reproductive health and rights journey: from Cairo to the present Sex Reprod Health Matters. 2019 Dec; 27(1):1676543. . View in PubMed
  • ‘We are not infertile’: challenges and limitations faced by women in same-sex relationships when seeking conception services in São Paulo, Brazil Cult Health Sex. 2019 11; 21(11):1257-1272. . View in PubMed
  • Police-Related Deaths and Neighborhood Economic and Racial/Ethnic Polarization, United States, 2015-2016 Am J Public Health. 2019 03; 109(3):458-464. . View in PubMed
  • Human rights and legal dimensions of self care interventions for sexual and reproductive health BMJ. 2019 05 13; 365:l1941. . View in PubMed
  • “In transition: ensuring the sexual and reproductive health and rights of transgender populations” A roundtable discussion. Reprod Health Matters. 2018 Dec; 26(52):1490624. . View in PubMed
  • A Meta-Narrative Literature Synthesis and Framework to Guide Future Evaluation of Legal Empowerment Interventions Health Hum Rights. 2018 Dec; 20(2):65-84. . View in PubMed
  • Assessing changes in HIV-related legal and policy environments: Lessons learned from a multi-country evaluation PLoS One. 2018; 13(2):e0192765. . View in PubMed
  • Quantifying underreporting of law-enforcement-related deaths in United States vital statistics and news-media-based data sources: A capture-recapture analysis PLoS Med. 2017 Oct; 14(10):e1002399. . View in PubMed
  • Monitoring HIV-Related Laws and Policies: Lessons for AIDS and Global Health in Agenda 2030 AIDS Behav. 2017 Jul; 21(Suppl 1):51-61. . View in PubMed
  • Non-communicable diseases and human rights: Global synergies, gaps and opportunities Glob Public Health. 2017 10; 12(10):1200-1227. . View in PubMed
  • Correction: Quantifying underreporting of law-enforcement-related deaths in United States vital statistics and news-media-based data sources: A capture-recapture analysis PLoS Med. 2017 10; 14(10):e1002449. . View in PubMed
  • Killed by Police: Validity of Media-Based Data and Misclassification of Death Certificates in Massachusetts, 2004-2016 Am J Public Health. 2017 10; 107(10):1624-1626. . View in PubMed
  • Engaging Human Rights in the Response to the Evolving Zika Virus Epidemic Am J Public Health. 2017 04; 107(4):525-531. . View in PubMed
  • A novel methodology for strengthening human rights based monitoring in public health: Family planning indicators as an illustrative example PLoS One. 2017; 12(12):e0186330. . View in PubMed
  • Reproductive justice & preventable deaths: state funding, family planning, abortion, and infant mortality, US 1980-2010 SSM Popul Health. 2016 Dec; 2:277-293. . View in PubMed
  • No “Shared Governance” Without Attention to Law, Broadly Conceived Am J Bioeth. 2016 10; 16(10):54-6. . View in PubMed
  • How Are Gender Equality and Human Rights Interventions Included in Sexual and Reproductive Health Programmes and Policies: A Systematic Review of Existing Research Foci and Gaps PLoS One. 2016; 11(12):e0167542. . View in PubMed
  • Men’s violence against women and men are inter-related: Recommendations for simultaneous intervention Soc Sci Med. 2015 Dec; 146:249-56. . View in PubMed
  • Sound and Fury–engaging with the politics and the law of sexual rights Reprod Health Matters. 2015 Nov; 23(46):7-15. . View in PubMed
  • Sexual rights as human rights: a guide to authoritative sources and principles for applying human rights to sexuality and sexual health Reprod Health Matters. 2015 Nov; 23(46):16-30. . View in PubMed
  • Revisiting the use of condoms in Brazil Rev Bras Epidemiol. 2015 Sep; 18 Suppl 1:63-88. . View in PubMed
  • Why history matters for quantitative target setting: Long-term trends in socioeconomic and racial/ethnic inequities in US infant death rates (1960-2010) J Public Health Policy. 2015 Aug; 36(3):287-303. . View in PubMed
  • Searching for Justice and Health Am J Public Health. 2015 Aug; 105(8):1511-2. . View in PubMed
  • Is the right to health compatible with sustainability? J Glob Health. 2015 Jun; 5(1):010301.. View in PubMed
  • Roundtable discussion on the Third Global Symposium on Health Systems Research: why prioritise talk over aid in the midst of the Ebola crisis? BMC Health Serv Res. 2015 May 07; 15:192.. View in PubMed
  • Reproductive justice and the pace of change: socioeconomic trends in US infant death rates by legal status of abortion, 1960-1980 Am J Public Health. 2015 Apr; 105(4):680-2. . View in PubMed
  • Air pollution, health, and human rights Lancet Respir Med. 2015 Feb; 3(2):98-100. . View in PubMed
  • Advancing sexual health through human rights: the role of the law Glob Public Health. 2015; 10(2):252-67. . View in PubMed
  • The HIV care cascade: models, measures and moving forward J Int AIDS Soc. 2015; 18:19395. . View in PubMed
  • Human rights and the sexual and reproductive health of women living with HIV–a literature review J Int AIDS Soc. 2015; 18(Suppl 5):20290. . View in PubMed
  • HIV and gender-based violence: welcome policies and programmes, but is the research keeping up? Reprod Health Matters. 2014 Nov; 22(44):174-84.. View in PubMed
  • Banning the hiring of tobacco users: where’s the fire? Acad Med. 2014 Jun; 89(6):837-9.. View in PubMed
  • Noncommunicable diseases and human rights: a promising synergy Am J Public Health. 2014 May; 104(5):773-5. . View in PubMed
  • AIDS Care. 2014; 26(12):1514-20. . View in PubMed
  • Realigning government action with public health evidence: the legal and policy environment affecting sex work and HIV in Asia Cult Health Sex. 2014; 16(1):14-29. . View in PubMed
  • Contemplating abortion: HIV-positive women’s decision to terminate pregnancy Cult Health Sex. 2014; 16(2):190-201. . View in PubMed
  • Realising the ICPD 20 years later: shifting the paradigms for research and education Glob Public Health. 2014; 9(6):647-52. . View in PubMed
  • Quality, not just quantity: lessons learned from HIV testing in Salvador, Brazil Glob Public Health. 2014; 9(6):723-39. . View in PubMed
  • Access to justice: evaluating law, health and human rights programmes in Kenya J Int AIDS Soc. 2013 Nov 13; 16(3 Suppl 2):18726. . View in PubMed
  • Identifying structural barriers to an effective HIV response: using the National Composite Policy Index data to evaluate the human rights, legal and policy environment J Int AIDS Soc. 2013 Apr 26; 16:18000. . View in PubMed
  • Safeguarding abortion: a matter of reproductive rights Am J Public Health. 2013 Jan; 103(1):4. . View in PubMed
  • Pregnancy decisions of women living with HIV: the need for multidisciplinary perspectives Reprod Health Matters. 2012 Dec; 20(39 Suppl):1-4. . View in PubMed
  • The pregnancy decisions of HIV-positive women: the state of knowledge and way forward Reprod Health Matters. 2012 Dec; 20(39 Suppl):119-40. . View in PubMed
  • The impacts of AIDS movements on the policy responses to HIV/AIDS in Brazil and South Africa: a comparative analysis Glob Public Health. 2012; 7(10):1031-44. . View in PubMed
  • Human rights in health systems frameworks: what is there, what is missing and why does it matter? Glob Public Health. 2012; 7(4):337-51.. View in PubMed
  • Sexual and reproductive health and rights in public health education Reprod Health Matters. 2011 Nov; 19(38):56-68. . View in PubMed
  • Avoiding plagiarism: the assurance of original publication Am J Public Health. 2011 Jun; 101(6):969. . View in PubMed
  • Tackling violence and HIV/AIDS: global health imperatives Am J Public Health. 2011 Jun; 101(6):968. . View in PubMed
  • PLoS Med. 2010 Sep 28; 7(9):e1000310. . View in PubMed
  • J Epidemiol Community Health. 2010 Sep; 64(9):747-9. . View in PubMed
  • Using human rights for sexual and reproductive health: improving legal and regulatory frameworks Bull World Health Organ. 2010 Jul 01; 88(7):551-5. . View in PubMed
  • ‘Rights-based approaches’ to health policies and programs: articulations, ambiguities, and assessment J Public Health Policy. 2010 Jul; 31(2):129-45. . View in PubMed
  • Human rights and humanitarian assistance: helping health professionals lead the way in Haiti and beyond Med Confl Surviv. 2010 Jul-Sep; 26(3):195-8. . View in PubMed
  • From conception to realization: a human right to health Hastings Cent Rep. 2010 May-Jun; 40(3):4; author reply 5-6. . View in PubMed
  • Gender, sex, and sexuality–same, different, or equal? Am J Public Health. 2010 Mar; 100(3):397.. View in PubMed
  • Human rights in the global response to HIV: findings from the 2008 United Nations General Assembly Special Session Reports J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2009 Dec; 52 Suppl 2:S104-10. . View in PubMed
  • Increasing civil society participation in the national HIV response: the role of UNGASS reporting J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2009 Dec; 52 Suppl 2:S97-103. . View in PubMed
  • Government regulation of sex and sexuality: in their own words Reprod Health Matters. 2009 Nov; 17(34):108-18. . View in PubMed
  • Using indicators to determine the contribution of human rights to public health efforts Bull World Health Organ. 2009 Sep; 87(9):714-9. . View in PubMed
  • AIDS treatment in Brazil: impacts and challenges Health Aff (Millwood). 2009 Jul-Aug; 28(4):1103-13. . View in PubMed
  • The sphere project: next steps in moving toward a rights-based approach to humanitarian assistance Prehosp Disaster Med. 2009 May-Jun; 24(3):147-52. . View in PubMed
  • Estimating the lost benefits of antiretroviral drug use in South Africa J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2008 Dec 01; 49(4):410-5. . View in PubMed
  • HIV and pregnancy intentions: do services adequately respond to women’s needs? Am J Public Health. 2008 Oct; 98(10):1746-50.. View in PubMed
  • Reproductive and sexual rights: do words matter? Am J Public Health. 2008 Oct; 98(10):1737.. View in PubMed
  • Process is the point: justice and human rights: priority setting and fair deliberative process Am J Public Health. 2008 Sep; 98(9):1573-7. . View in PubMed
  • Pragmatic pathways to universal access: leadership, equity, accountability and partnerships in HIV prevention and care AIDS. 2008 Aug; 22 Suppl 2:S1-2. . View in PubMed
  • Universal Access to HIV prevention, treatment and care: assessing the inclusion of human rights in international and national strategic plans AIDS. 2008 Aug; 22 Suppl 2:S123-32. . View in PubMed
  • Using human rights to improve maternal and neonatal health: history, connections and a proposed practical approach Bull World Health Organ. 2008 Aug; 86(8):589-93. . View in PubMed
  • Provider-initiated HIV testing and counseling in health facilities–what does this mean for the health and human rights of pregnant women? Dev World Bioeth. 2008 Apr; 8(1):23-32.. View in PubMed
  • Evolution of antiretroviral drug costs in Brazil in the context of free and universal access to AIDS treatment PLoS Med. 2007 Nov 13; 4(11):e305. . View in PubMed
  • Beyond the numbers: using rights-based perspectives to enhance antiretroviral treatment scale-up AIDS. 2007 Oct; 21 Suppl 5:S13-9. . View in PubMed
  • Antiretroviral therapy adherence did not differ between Thai children with biological and those with nonbiological parents Clin Infect Dis. 2007 Sep 01; 45(5):669-70. . View in PubMed
  • History, principles, and practice of health and human rights Lancet. 2007 Aug 04; 370(9585):449-55. . View in PubMed
  • New guidance on recommended HIV testing and counselling Lancet. 2007 Jul 21; 370(9583):202-203. . View in PubMed
  • Emerging health disparities in Botswana: examining the situation of orphans during the AIDS epidemic Soc Sci Med. 2007 Jun; 64(12):2476-86. . View in PubMed
  • Male circumcision, in so many words. . Reprod Health Matters. 2007 May; 15(29):49-52. . View in PubMed
  • Ensuring sexual and reproductive health for people living with HIV: an overview of key human rights, policy and health systems issues Reprod Health Matters. 2007 May; 15(29 Suppl):4-26. . View in PubMed
  • Human rights and ethics in public health Am J Public Health. 2006 Nov; 96(11):1903-5. . View in PubMed
  • Jonathan Mann: founder of the health and human rights movement Am J Public Health. 2006 Nov; 96(11):1942-3. . View in PubMed
  • Orphan care in Botswana’s working households: growing responsibilities in the absence of adequate support Am J Public Health. 2006 Aug; 96(8):1429-35. . View in PubMed
  • Health and human rights education in academic settings Health Hum Rights. 2006; 9(2):297-300. . View in PubMed
  • Rights-based approaches to health: something for everyone Health Hum Rights. 2006; 9(2):5-9. . View in PubMed
  • The impact of a police drug crackdown on drug injectors’ ability to practice harm reduction: a qualitative study Soc Sci Med. 2005 Aug; 61(3):673-84. . View in PubMed
  • The more things change. . Health Hum Rights. 2005; 8(2):1-7. . View in PubMed
  • Bangkok 2004Current issues and concerns in HIV testing: a health and human rights approach. HIV AIDS Policy Law Rev. 2004 Dec; 9(3):99-103. . View in PubMed
  • Stalled on the road to reproductive health Am J Public Health. 2004 Aug; 94(8):1297. . View in PubMed
  • Characterizing perceived police violence: implications for public health Am J Public Health. 2004 Jul; 94(7):1109-18. . View in PubMed
  • What are health and human rights? Lancet. 2004 Jan 24; 363(9405):329.. View in PubMed
  • Vulnerability to HIV/STIs among rural women from migrant communities in Nepal: a health and human rights framework Reprod Health Matters. 2003 Nov; 11(22):142-51. . View in PubMed
  • The UNGASS Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS: one year later Can HIV AIDS Policy Law Rev. 2003 Apr; 8(1):17-14. . View in PubMed
  • Poverty, equity, human rights and health Bull World Health Organ. 2003; 81(7):539-45. . View in PubMed
  • Do human rights have a role in public health work? Lancet. 2002 Dec 07; 360(9348):1880.. View in PubMed
  • GAVI, the first steps: lessons for the Global Fund Lancet. 2002 Jul 13; 360(9327):176. . View in PubMed
  • Time, place, and consciousness: three dimensions of meaning for US institutional review boards Am J Public Health. 2002 Jul; 92(7):1067-70. . View in PubMed
  • Ethics, human rights, and public health Am J Public Health. 2002 May; 92(5):698; author reply 698-9. . View in PubMed
  • The UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS: were some lessons of the last 20 years ignored? Am J Public Health. 2002 Mar; 92(3):337-8.. View in PubMed
  • Children confronting HIV/AIDS: charting the confluence of rights and health Health Hum Rights. 1998; 3(1):60-86. . View in PubMed
  • The highest priority: making use of UN conference documents to remind governments of their commitments to HIV/AIDS Health Hum Rights. 1998; 3(1):107-42. . View in PubMed
  • Past, present, and future: AIDS and human rights Health Hum Rights. 1998; 2(4):1-3. . View in PubMed
  • Negotiating the relationship of HIV/AIDS to reproductive health and reproductive rights Am Univ Law Rev. 1995; 44:1191-205. . View in PubMed
  • Health and human rights Health Hum Rights. 1994; 1(1):6-23. . View in PubMed