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Affiliate Faculty

Catherine Admay

Visiting Professor, Public Policy
Sanford School of Public Policy
International Development, Duke Center for

(919) 613-9232

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Catherine Admay


Catherine Admay taught at NYU Law School (1994-96) and Duke Law School (1996-2002) before joining, as visiting faculty, the departments of Political Science and Public Policy/Duke Center for International Development. Admay is a Faculty Affiliate to Duke's Global Health Institute. She co-founded NYU Law's first international law clinic (serving the government of Eritrea and civil society organizations) and founded and directed Duke Law School's first international development law clinic (serving the government of South Africa and civil society organizations). She has served as a legal consultant to the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission (report issued May, 2006) and as a legal scholar contributing to the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (report issued October, 1998).


Title Number Level Semester Requirements Fulfilled
International Law and Global Health GLHLTH 190FS
UG Only FALL 2016 MINOR: Elective
MAJOR: Focused Study
International Law and Global Health

This course will examine where and how international law intersects with global health inequalities. In what instances has international law been a positive force for addressing these inequalities and when has the law itself compounded and extended the problem? Through two or three case studies, students will be challenged to critically assess whether the law — and what particular bodies of law — would be the most appropriate. For example, if the families of working coffee farmers in the Sidamo region of Ethiopia are suffering from severe malnutrition while western coffee consumers pay top dollar for a bag of roasted Sidamo label beans, what legal regimes might apply? Having a basic grasp of a handful of leading rules systems (human rights, trade, intellectual property, among others), students will then be asked to consider the legal, political and ethical merits of pursuing better health outcomes through resort to the law. We will consider the law as lawyers must — attending to the technical elements and complexities — but we will also seek to understand the extent to which the law's power resides as much in its political punch or moral appeal. In short, the course will work to situate international law and global health in the stream of strategic choices available to those who call for better health by demanding greater justice.

Course Notes:
UG Only FALL 2015 MINOR: Elective
MAJOR: Focused Study
Special Topics: Law, Development, & Human Rights
Crosslisted as GLHLTH 590S

This course is focused on challenges for poor people in which one of the questions is how large a role law should play in addressing the development challenge, and another question is whether or not to foreground legalized human rights as part of a strategy for pro-poor development. In the first (framing) part of the course we will explore arguments for nudging rather than fully mandating choices, considering how insights from popular behavioral economics might bear on policies to promote development with a minimum of legal rules. We will also learn about power analyses of development and such practitioner tools as power mapping, citizen report cards and public expenditure tracking surveys and consider the implications of these approaches to development for when and how law might best promote development. In the second (case module) part of the course we will take up three to four real world cases in which legal arguments, development problems, and ethical and human rights claims are all in play and policy decisions must be made, in that case, about what mix might be best for pro-poor development. Built into the case will be perspectives taken by different countries or communities, different stake-holders with different ideologies, and different disciplinary specialists. In each case module, we will ask if law, including legalized human rights, can be viewed both as part of the problem and as part of various prospective solutions. Also what other forms of nudging might help us innovate in relation to those problems. For each case module we will attend to ethical questions sometimes coded as grounded in human rights and sometimes not that arise in pursuit of pro-poor development. Case modules involve a range of development challenges, eg, safeguarding public health in the shadow of bilateral investment treaties or corporate constitutional rights; curbing corruption and empowering citizens and civil society to progressively achieve government accountability in such areas as health and education; enabling access to essential medicines for patients who cannot pay; promoting positive corporate conduct through devices like benefit corporations (b-corps) and restraining corporate complicity in human rights violations; maintaining social and environmental safeguards for World Bank- sponsored development initiatives. Students will have the opportunity to select and frame one of the cases. No expertise in law is required. We will learn as needed the rudiments of the relevant law for each case module, whether local, constitutional, national, international, or law-like institutional review processes like the World Bank's Inspection Panel that enables challenges to World Bank decisions. The strategic policy insights we seek will be of consequence for professional practitioners (eg. health workers, development workers) and government entities, as well as non-governmental organizations, citizen-based organizations and communities, corporations, transnational networks, and ordinary people.

Course Notes:
UG/GRAD SPRING 2013 GHC: Elective
GHC: Ethics
MSC: Elective
MAJOR: Focused Study
MINOR: Elective

Recent Publications

Admay, CA, Thomas Nicholson, TRN, Aaron Shakow, AS, and Salmaan Keshavjee, KS. "Double Standards in Global Health: Medicine, Human Rights Law and Multidrug-Resistant TB Treatment Policy." Health and human rights 18, no. 1: 85-101. View