Global Health Justice

Announcing our fellows

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Global Health Justice Postdoctoral Programme


The Global Health Justice Postdoctoral Programme (GHJ), funded by Höppsche Stiftung and directed by Prof. Dr. Rainer Forst and Prof. Dr. Darrel Moellendorf at Goethe University Frankfurt, each year appoints up to two post-doctoral fellows for a full academic year. The Fellows are part of the Frankfurt academic community, especially of the Normative Orders Research Centre.


Questions of health justice have been part of discussions about global justice for a long time, and there are numerous approaches, ranging from deontological to consequentialist ones, to address them. The Covid-19 pandemic, however, has added not just some urgency to these questions but also showed how structural asymmetries between (and within) different countries led to highly unequal chances to receive and develop vaccines and to care for basic health needs. It is time for a global debate on global health justice, and the new program set up at Normative Orders aims to help facilitate research conducive to this debate. Many issues need to be explored in this context, not just fair access to medicine but also the nature of transnational structural injustice, gender disparities in health provision, sustainable development goals, climate change and health, the human right to health, etc.


The fellows of the first, founding year are Dr. Ndidi Nwaneri and Dr. Cain Shelley.

Ndidi Nwaneri is a trained philosopher and social development policy expert, based in Nigeria, West Africa. She received her doctorate from Loyola University, Chicago with her dissertation titled  " Human Rights and Global Justice: A Normative Critique of Some Rawlsian Approaches." Her current research project is titled, "Pandemic Agency and Justice: A Socio-Political Analysis of the Global COVID-19 Pandemic." Her overarching purpose in this project is to develop a normative framework that reconciles the actions of agents (global, national, community and individual) during the COVID pandemic, with prevailing social and global justice theories. According to her, social or global crises provide a unique opportunity to examine the “fit” of theory and reality. This two-pronged assessment – examining responses to the pandemic through the lens of theory, and examining dominant theories through the lens of actions – could provide a means to assess the adequacy of (or lack thereof), of extant social and global justice theories.

Cain Shelley
recently received his PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science. His thesis was supervised by Lea Ypi. He describes his current research project as follows:
"To date, the philosophical debate about global health justice has overwhelmingly focused on two issues: specifying the best principles of global health justice on the one hand and specifying the institutional changes best suited to advancing these principles on the other. Whilst both debates are clearly important, much less attention has been paid to a third set of issues: the question of which political agents are best suited to implementing the changes justice in global health requires. To help fill this gap, this research project aims to provide an extended philosophical examination of several grassroots agents of health justice, such as the Treatment Action Campaign, ACT UP and the People’s Health Movement. One question I am particularly interested in investigating is the following: what virtues of character - hope?, creativity?, prudence? - do those who participate in the activities of group agents like these need to contribute effectively to processes of just social change?"