During the autumn term 2001 a PHR-UK team taught the human rights component of a unique intercalated BSc in International Health at the Whittington Hospital campus of University College London (UCL). The 10 half day sessions run by PHR-UK were judged the most popular part of the BSc course. Its success confirms PHR-UK as the foremost teacher of health and human rights in the UK.
The content of the UCL course taught by PHR-UK is an updated version of Rachel Maxwell's (nee Izzard) participatory internet course in Medicine and Human Rights developed in Dundee in collaboration with Professor Derrick Pounder in 1996. Having studied both European Human Rights and Medicine and the Law as part of her law degree, Rachel developed the cross-disciplinary course over 9 months. The first of its kind in the UK it was immediately adopted by the University of Dundee as part of the undergraduate curriculum. The topics are taught using a variety of educational strategies encouraging self-directed learning which promote the development of important generic competencies including working in groups, and the creating and making of formal, assessed presentations. The original course has been taken up by 4 medical schools in the UK.
The PHR-UK course teachers were Bernie Hamilton, who teaches human rights at Birbeck College. and Peter Hall, both of whom are been appointed honorary senior lecturers at UCL. The 10 sessions comprised an introduction to human rights and a concluding session, bracketing 8 sessions entitled Mechanisms of Redress, Torture and Death in Custody, Doctors and Torture, The Death Penalty, Public Health Control and HIV/AIDS Protection, Rape in Situations of Conflict, Seeking Asylum, and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Right to Health.
The students are to be congratulated on achieving four firsts, nine 2:1s and two 2:2s. They formally evaluated the PHR-UK sessions as either excellent or good. They made a number of helpful comments which will be taken into account in designing futures course.
The success of the health and human rights component of the UCL BSc can be attributed to three factors - the quality of Rachel Maxwell's original course, the quality of the BSc students who come from all over the UK, and to Bernie Hamilton's scholarship and teaching skills. Plans to repeat the UCL course annually are well advanced