Jonathan Shaffer, PhD

Hecht-Levi Fellow

Jonathan Shaffer recently graduated with a Ph.D. in Sociology from Boston University where his academic interests focused on the intersection of global health, human rights, science and technology studies, and social movements. His dissertation comparatively studies the political construction of two “model demonstration projects” as sites of global public health science. The first, in Finland, succeeded in making legible the problem of noncommunicable diseases as understood and experienced by citizens in the Global North. The second, in Sierra Leone, is challenging that understanding, based on the experiences of impoverished people in the Global South. Through this comparison, he demonstrates how conflicting normative principles of just action and right knowledge are enacted, contested, and settled at the local, institutional, and global governance levels in the field of global health practice. In addition to his academic work, Jon has founded and led Right to Health Action, PIH Engage, and GlobeMed. He is passionate about building people-powered campaigns and organizations that fight for the right to health. As a Hecht-Levi fellow focusing on Ethics and Infectious Diseases, jointly appointed at the Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins University and the Welcome Center for Ethics and Humanities at the University of Oxford, Jon plans to study the intersection of contentious politics and epistemic practices of health justice movements in both the Global North and Global South.