Frequently Asked Questions

What do you do?

Where do you work?

What are your program priorities?

How do you choose your programs?

Where does your funding come from?

What is the connection between health and human rights?

Why did you change your name?

How can I volunteer with HealthRight?

1. What do you do?

HealthRight International is a global health and human rights organization working to build lasting access to health for excluded communities.

Establishing local partnerships and working closely with communities, HealthRight projects combine direct service, systems strengthening, and advocacy to ensure broad and long-lasting impact. 


2. Where do you work?

We work where communities lack access to basic health and social services, and where the failure to protect human rights negatively affects the health of vulnerable populations.  

We currently have projects in:

• Kenya
• Nepal
• Russia
• Ukraine
• United States
• Viet Nam


3. What are your program priorities?

Our projects address health and social crises made worse by human rights violations, with a particular focus and expertise on

• HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria, including the rights of people with these diseases to care and protection from stigma and discrimination

• Women’s health, including women’s right to safe and effective maternal and neonatal care, as well as information and equal access to protection and quality health services

• The health and welfare of orphans and other vulnerable children, whose wellbeing may be endangered when they lack supportive families or social networks

• Care and support for survivors of human rights violations such as torture, trafficking, and gender-based violence


4. How do you choose your programs?

We choose our programs in a variety of ways, including at the invitation of a local organization or existing partner; in response to a call for projects made by governments, multinational aid organizations or private donors; and other times in response to an advocacy group’s recommendations.  Often it is a combination of all of these factors and circumstances that leads to the development of a new project.

Each HealthRight project works in close partnership with local organizations to develop a comprehensive program to address health needs and related human rights issues.  And we always develop a plan for when and how project components will continue under local management. 


5. Where does your funding come from?

HealthRight works to ensure a balanced and diverse stream of funding from private individuals, foundations, and corporations.  HealthRight also receives funding from governments and bi- and multi-lateral agencies, such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), UNICEF, and the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture.  For a listing of recent donors, please read our Annual Report.

Some of our funding is restricted to a specific project, while other support is unrestricted – or available to be applied where we have the greatest need or to conduct an assessment or begin new projects.   

HealthRight is very proud of our stewardship and use of contributions, and we consistently get the highest ratings for our use of contributions from independent watchdog groups like Charity Navigator. 


6. What is the connection between health and human rights?

Health is a fundamental human right, recognized under international law, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which recognizes “the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.”

But other core human rights are also “inextricably linked” to health, as our founder, Dr. Jonathan Mann declared.  Human rights violations such as torture, rape, and other physical abuse effect health in clearly discernible ways – through the scars left on the bodies and in the minds of survivors. The health consequences of other human rights abuses are perhaps less clear at first glance, but equally damaging. Preventing access to information, education, or services and depriving people of freedom or basic civil liberties can have devastating effects on health.  Discrimination and stigma also fuel the spread of diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS by preventing the sick from seeking or receiving treatment.


7. Why did Doctors of the World-USA change its name to HealthRight International?

HealthRight International was known as Doctors of the World-USA from its founding in 1990 until it adopted its new name in 2009.  We believe that our new name reflects our founding belief that health is a fundamental human right, and that there is a direct link between the health of communities and the broad fulfillment of human rights. 

HealthRight is a name that truly reflects who we are — doctors, nurses, midwives, community health workers, social workers, community organizers, educators, and public health experts and officials.

HealthRight is also a call to action.  It asserts our fundamental beliefs and is a firm statement of our mission and work – work that begins with engaging and mobilizing communities, and ends when our local partners have what they need to provide sustainable access to care to those that need it most.

8. How can I volunteer with HealthRight?

Current volunteer opportunities are listed in the Jobs and Volunteer Opportunities section of our website.