DSC_0021Human rights, global health, gender, sexuality, HIV/AIDS, and incarceration have long been the focus of Lara Stemple’s research. In addition to overseeing the LL.M. and S.J.D. degree programs as Director of Graduate Studies at UCLA School of Law, she co-directs UCLA Law-Sonke Health & Human Rights Fellowship program and directs the Health and Human Rights Law Project, which seeks to improve global health by using a framework grounded in international human rights law. Through research, training, and mentorship, the Project helps develop future leaders in the field. She currently serves on the Advisory Board of UCLA’s Center for the Study of Women, and she is the Deputy Co-Director of the UC Global Health Institute’s Center of Expertise on Women’s Health and Empowerment.

UCLA Law-Sonke Health & Human Rights Fellows, 2014-15

Launched in 2011, the UCLA Law – Sonke Health & Human Rights Fellowship provides specialized training to top graduates from Southern African law schools for careers as impact-oriented lawyers in the areas of health, human rights, HIV prevention and gender equality. “UCLA has a lot to contribute toward this.” says Stemple. “Our goal is to motivate and train local lawyers and then launch their public interest careers back home.”

The fellows undertake in-depth research and coursework related to health and human rights. Some specialize in Public Interest Law and Policy, others in Law and Sexuality, and some take a wide range of courses, including some at UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health. Upon completion of the LL.M. degree, fellows have the opportunity to apply for a yearlong paid placement with Sonke Gender Justice Network in South Africa, where they undertake cutting-edge legal research addressing the gender inequality dynamics driving the spread of HIV and in advocacy that engages men and boys as stakeholders in gender equity. This year’s fellows are Portia Karegeya and Ariane Nevin.

PKaregeyaPortia Karegeya earned a postgraduate LL.B. degree from the University of Cape Town in 2011, where she also graduated with a Bachelor of Economics and Law. In 2013, Karegeya obtained a Master of Laws from McGill University. Her primary academic focus has been pharmaceutical patents and access to affordable medicines. Karegeya is committed to the ideals of human rights and social justice and ultimately plans to pursue these ideals through a career in public interest law.

ANevinAriane Nevin completed a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Politics and History and subsequently pursued her interest in human rights by earning a postgraduate degree in Law at the University of Cape Town. During her time at UCT, she participated in student activism and community outreach and became a member of Students for Law and Social Justice, a national student movement dedicated to protecting human rights, preventing discrimination and promoting the rule of law. In 2013 Nevin joined SECTION27 as a fellow, where she worked on issues relating to the right to education. After completing her fellowship, she remained at SECTION27 as a junior researcher and expanded her portfolio to include access to healthcare. Nevin plans to pursue a career in public interest law, and hopes to focus on issues relating to healthcare access.

Health & Human Rights Law Project

The Health and Human Rights Law Project at UCLA School of Law seeks to improve global health by using a framework grounded in international human rights law. Through multi-disciplinary research, training and mentorship, the Project aims to examine the relationship between health and human rights and to foster the next generation of leaders working in this area. With an emphasis on sexuality, gender, and HIV/AIDS, the Project focuses on health issues around which rights-claiming has particular salience.

Some of the recent projects include “Orientations and Identities: Sexuality and Human Rights on the Global Stage,” an invitation-only workshop on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity that examined how best to respond to political divisions concerning SOGI-related health and rights, by bringing together leading scholars and practitioners working at the intersection of sexuality, health, human rights, international relations, and development, and “UCGHI Women’s Health & Empowerment 3rd Annual Summer Institute in Nairobi, Kenya,” an intensive course—for NGO staff, graduate students, junior faculty, lawyers, health professionals, and government officials—that teaches skills that prioritize women’s empowerment in health-related endeavors, leading to more efficacious health programs and policies. Another project was a fellowship program to train a diverse group of UCLA and UCSF fellows to conduct innovative, interdisciplinary research and build partnerships throughout the University of California and around the world to improve women’s health. One of the fellows, Emily Nagisa Keehn, who received her J.D. at UCLA, recently published “Uneven and Still Insufficient: South African Police Services’ Station-Level Compliance with Sexual Offences Laws” (Feminist Criminology 87: 9 [2014]).

Challenging Assumptions About the Sexual Victimization of Men

One of Stemple’s recent publications is “The Sexual Victimization of Men in America: New Data Challenge Old Assumptions”(American Journal of Public Health: June 2014, Vol. 104, No. 6, pp. e19-e26). For the study, Stemple and co-author Ilan H. Meyer “assessed 12-month prevalence and incidence data on sexual victimization in 5 federal surveys that the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted independently in 2010 through 2012.” Using this data to examine a common assumption that men rarely experience sexual victimization, they show that the data revealed “a high prevalence of sexual victimization among men—in many circumstances similar to the prevalence found among women.” “Regressive gender assumptions,” they conclude, can harm both women and men.


Health & Human Rights Law Project, UCLA School of Law, https://www.law.ucla.edu/centers/international-law-and-human-rights/health-and-human-rights-law-project/about/

“The Sexual Victimization of Men in America: New Data Challenge Old Assumptions,” Lara Stemple and Ilan H. Meyer, American Journal of Public Health, June 2014, Vol. 104, No. 6, pp. e19-e26), http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2014.301946?journalCode=ajph

Sonke Health & Human Rights Fellowship, https://www.law.ucla.edu/llm-sjd/llm-program/sonke-health-and-human-rights-fellowship/

Uneven and Still Insufficient: South African Police Services’ Station-Level Compliance with Sexual Offences Laws, Emily Keehn, Lara Stemple, Cherith Sanger, and Dean Peacock, Feminist Criminology 87: 9 (2014), http://fcx.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/11/22/1557085113501220.abstract?rss=1