Past Event

Panel: "Prioritizing Women - Adapting Refugee Health Services for 21st Century Health Challenges"

March 7, 2015
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Columbia Global Centers | Istanbul and Studio-X Istanbul are pleased to invite you to a special panel discussion, the first of a series of public events designed to elaborate on the issues and themes of  "The Good Cause: Architectures of Peace" and the "Vocabulary of Hospitality" exhibition.

Venue: Studio-X Istanbul
Date and time: March 7, 2015 at 14:00
Address: Meclis-i Mebusan Cad. 35A Fındıklı - İstanbul
Participation is free of charge and open to public. 
The language of this event is English.

International Women’s Day, first celebrated in 1911, recognizes the achievements of women while calling for gender equality. With this in mind, we invite you to explore the intersections between gender rights, public health, and migration together with distinguished scholars from the Mailman School of Public Health and Istanbul University.

Women and children comprise the vast majority of the Syrian refugee population in Turkey.  What do we know about the circumstances women refugees face, and what approaches, services and policies should be developed to address their needs, grounded in human rights and gender equality? At the same time, we will hear about recent trends in the explosive growth of non-communicable chronic diseases globally and in the region. How should health services, for vulnerable and non-vulnerable populations alike, adapt to confront these new threats? How are these developments compelling us to rethink humanitarian emergencies and responses, particularly in our region?

Istanbul University scholars Zeynep Kıvılcım and Nurcan Özgür Baklacıoğlu will present findings from fieldwork recently conducted in Istanbul with Syrian women and LGBTI refugees as well as an assessment of the legal framework in Turkey, which sets the basis for the protection of refugees and their ability to fully access their rights.

Lynn P. FreedmanWafaa El-Sadr, and Miriam Rabkin are leading scholars of the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, who will offer insights on questions of public health and the right to health for refugee populations, with a focus on women.


Wafaa El-Sadr, MD, MPH, founded and currently directs ICAP which works in sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia, and in the U.S. in partnership with governmental and non-governmental organizations building in-country capacity for HIV prevention, care, and treatment and related issues. More than one million individuals living with HIV have gained access to HIV services and more than 500,000 have received access to life-saving antiretroviral therapy through these programs. ICAP champions a family-focused approach consistent with the one pioneered at Harlem Hospital through a multidisciplinary team of providers and based on building meaningful partnerships with governmental and non-governmental organizations within countries. Dr. El-Sadr has also led efforts to support the capacity of health systems through the many programs that ICAP has established. Her work has also advanced the concepts of health systems strengthening globally for the purpose of confronting major health threats faced by communities around the world. For two decades, Dr. El-Sadr served as chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Harlem Hospital Center in New York City. In this role, she was instrumental in developing a comprehensive HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis program focused on service, training, and research. This unique program applies a family-focused approach, uses multidisciplinary teams, and engages community members. Dr. El-Sadr has led the design and implementation of numerous studies that have furthered the understanding of the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases. In 2008, Dr. El-Sadr was named a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellow and in 2009 she became a member of the Institute of Medicine.

Lynn P. Freedman is Professor of Population and Family Health at Columbia University Medical Center and Director of the Averting Maternal Death and Disability (AMDD) program at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. AMDD is a global program of research, policy analysis, and technical support that, since 1999, has worked with UN agencies, NGOs, and governments in more than 50 countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America to reduce maternal mortality.  As director of the Law & Policy Project at Columbia´s Mailman School of Public Health from 1997 to 2009, Lynn became a leading figure in the field of health and human rights, working worldwide with women´s groups and human rights non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Before joining the faculty at Columbia University in 1990, she worked as a practicing attorney in New York City. 

Lynn has published widely on issues of maternal mortality and on health and human rights, with a particular focus on gender and women´s health. The current focus of Lynn’s research is on promoting inclusive health systems that can ensure equitable access to quality maternal and newborn health care.  Increasingly, this research draws on insights and methodologies from implementation science to examine health interventions in their larger social and policy context.  By researching in-depth the way programs are implemented as well as the content of the programs themselves, Lynn and colleagues are breaking new ground in addressing long-standing challenges in maternal and newborn health.  Focus on implementation ensures that AMDD’s research relates to frontline realities, and is thus actionable and can be used to inform relevant policy.  Recent work has examined social accountability and health governance; disrespect and abuse and quality of care in maternal health care; referral in maternal and newborn health systems; urban health, especially in slums, including the challenges and opportunities of informal systems; and issues surrounding human resource management, such as task-shifting, and posting and transfer practices in the health sector.

Lynn also serves on the advisory boards of maternal health projects and human rights projects with programs in Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America.  She received a law degree (JD) from Harvard University, a Master of Public Health (MPH) from Columbia University, and a bachelor´s degree (BA) from Yale University.

Zeynep Kıvılcım is an Associate Professor of Public International Law at the Faculty of Political Science, Istanbul University. She graduated from Ankara University Law Faculty and received her MA and PhD in Public International Law from University Paris II (Panthéon-Assas). She teaches courses on international human rights law, gender, and law, public international law. Her research areas are critical and feminist approaches to international law, human rights, and social movements. Her academic work on migrants and refugees includes:

Syrian Women and LGBTI refugees in Istanbul: gender-based critical analysis of legal and implementation framework, Report (co-authored with N. Özgür Baklacıoğlu) to Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Istanbul, December 2014; “Legal Framework for the Protection of Out of Camp Syrian Refugees in Turkey”, paper presented at the 15th International Conference for the Study of Forced Migration, 15-19 July 2014, Bogota (Colombia); “Human Rights, Asylum and Migration in Turkey”, in Building “Fortress Turkey” at the Southeastern Borders of the EU,  (Ed. N. O. Baklacioglu ve Y. Özer), Mellen Press, 2014; “The Right to Asylum in Transit: The role of the ECHR and the EU in promoting protection at the Aegean Border of the EU” (presentation co-authored with Nurcan Özgür Baklacıoğlu), 13th conference of the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration, 3-6 July 2011, Kampala (Uganda).

Nurcan Özgür Baklacıoğlu is an Associate Professor ın the International Relations Department of the Faculty of Political Science, Istanbul University. She completed her Bachelor, MA and Ph.D. degrees in International Relations, Balkan, Middle East, Central Asia Studies at Istanbul University and her second MA in Political Science at Central European University, Budapest. Since 1996 she specializes in migration, asylum, dual citizenship and border politics in Turkey and the Balkans. She has conducted fieldwork on minority rights, dual citizenship, and migration in the Balkans. Funded under IU BAP Project No: 566/14082006 she completed field studies in Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey among African and Syrian refugees. She is chief editor of Migration, Asylum, and Refugees in Turkey: Studies in the Control of Population at the Southeastern Borders of the EU, co-edited with Y. Ozer, Edwin Mellen Press, 2014; Europeanisation of Asylum System in Turkey, co-authored with Y.Ozer, Istanbul: Der, 2010. Some of her articles are: “Asylum Policy and Practices in Turkey: Constructing the Refugee Other in Konya” in Migration und Turkei: Bewegungen am Rande der Europaischen Union, Uğur Tekin and Barbara Push ed., Institut d’Orient İstanbuler Texte und Studien, Köln Universitet, Köln, 2011.; Migration and Foreign Policy: Albanian Migrations to Turkey 1920-1980, İstanbul, 2010; Raoul Wallenberg Institute, Syrian Women and LGBTI refugees in Istanbul: gender-based critical analysis of legal and implementation framework, Report co-authored with Zeynep Kivilcim, Istanbul, December 2014.”Syrian Refugees in Limbo: Problems of Protection among out of camp Syrian Refugees in Turkey”, IASFM 15: Forced Migration and Peace Conference,  15-18 July 2014, Bogota, Colombia; “From `Guesthouses` to Removal Centers: Europeanisation of Immigrant Detention in Turkey” in Detaining the Immigrant Other: Global and Transnational Issues, ed. by Rich Furman, Alissa Ackerman and Douglas Epps, Oxford:  Oxford University Press, forthcoming. 

Miriam Rabkin, MD, MPH, focuses on HIV/AIDS care and advocacy, medical education, and medical ethics, with an emphasis on global HIV/AIDS care and treatment programs. Her current work centers on HIV and health systems, access to HIV services in resource-limited settings, and the design, delivery, and evaluation of chronic care programs for HIV and non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Dr. Rabkin has supported the implementation of HIV programs in Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Thailand and Zambia as well as health systems research and training in multiple countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Her current research interests include the impact of HIV scale-up on health systems and the intersection of HIV and NCDs in lower-income countries.

Photo credit: Mazar-e-Sharif by Skaetistan