Anne-Emanuelle Birn

Anne-Emanuelle Birn

International Health and IDS
(416) 287-7322


Anne-Emanuelle Birn is Professor of Critical Development Studies (UTSC) and of Social and Behavioural Health Sciences (Dalla Lana School of Public Health) at the University of Toronto, where she served as Canada Research Chair in International Health from 2003 to 2013. Previously she was a professor of Health Policy at the New School in New York, and has been a visiting professor at the Universidad de la República in Montevideo, Uruguay, and at the Centre de Recherche Médicale et Sanitaire (INSERM) and l’Institut National d'Etudes Démographiques (INED) in Paris. Professor Birn’s research explores the history, politics, and political economy of international/global health, with particular interests in Latin American health and social justice movements, child health/rights, and philanthrocapitalism—and emphases ranging from the scatological to the ideological. Her work has appeared in North American, Latin American, African, Asian, and European journals and presses; she has also edited multiple special journal issues. Her books include: Marriage of Convenience: Rockefeller International Health and Revolutionary Mexico (2006); Comrades in Health: US Health Internationalists, Abroad and at Home (2013); Oxford University Press’s Textbook of Global Health (2017), and Peripheral Nerve: Health and Medicine in Cold War Latin America, (Duke University Press, 2020). Professor Birn’s honours include Fulbright and Rotary fellowships, election to the Delta Omega Public Health Honor Society, numerous endowed lectureships across the Americas and Asia, and naming to the Oslo Independent Panel on Global Governance for Health. In 2014 she was recognized among the top 100 Women Leaders in Global Health, and in 2018 she was named to the List of Canadian Women in Global Health. She is a core member of People’s Health Movement-Canada.


Research Interests: 

  • History of child health and child rights in Uruguay and transnationally
  • History of international and global health in the Americas
  • Social justice-oriented South-South cooperation in health, past and present
  • Primary health care, social justice, and international health politics 1980s/1990s
  • Canadian extractivism and health

Teaching Interests: 

  • Global health policy and politics, past and present
  • History of public health in Latin America
  • Critical perspectives on health and development



Birn, Anne-Emanuelle and Necochea López, Raúl, eds.  Peripheral Nerve: Health and Medicine in Cold War Latin America, Duke University Press, 2020.

Introduction available online:

Birn, Anne-Emanuelle, Pillay, Yogan, and Holtz, Timothy H. Textbook of Global Health, 4th edition, Oxford University Press, 2017. Paperback edition, June 2018.

Korean translation under contract

Birn, Anne-Emanuelle and Brown, Theodore, eds. Comrades in Health: US Health Internationalists, Abroad and at Home, Rutgers University Press, 2013

Birn, Anne-Emanuelle, Pillay, Yogan, and Holtz, Timothy H. Textbook of International Health: Global Health in a Dynamic World, 3rd edition, Oxford University Press, 2009.

Birn, Anne-Emanuelle. Marriage of Convenience: Rockefeller International Health and Revolutionary Mexico, University of Rochester Press, 2006. Paperback edition 2012.

Selected Peer-reviewed Publications since 2018: 

Birn, Anne-Emanuelle, “Perspectivizing pandemics: (How) do epidemic histories crisscross contexts?” Journal of Global History, 15(3) November 2020: 1-14.

Birn, Anne-Emanuelle. “How to have narrative-flipping history in a pandemic: Views of/from Latin America,” Centaurus: An International Journal of the History of Science and its Cultural Aspects. Spotlight Issue on Pandemics. 2020, 62 (2): 354-369.

Birn, Anne-Emanuelle and Nervi, Laura. “(Re-)Making a People’s WHO,” American Journal of Public Health, 110: 9 (September 2020): e1-e2.

French version:

Spanish versions: and in Medicina Social 2020, 13(2): 119-122.

German version:

Birn, Anne-Emanuelle and Nervi, Laura. “What Matters in Health (Care) Universes: Delusions, Dilutions, and Ways towards Universal Health Justice,” Globalization and Health 15 supplement (2019):1-12. doi:10.1186/s12992-019-0521-7.

Birn, Anne-Emanuelle, Muntaner, Carles, Afzal, Zabia, and Aguilera, Mariajosé. “Is there a social justice variant of South–South health cooperation?: A scoping and critical literature review,” Global Health Action 2019, 12 (1): 1-20.

Birn, Anne-Emanuelle, and Theodore M. Brown. "Elizabeth Fee (1946–2018)," American Journal of Public Health, 109:6 (June 2019): e1-e4.

Birn, Anne-Emanuelle, “Child health and child rights: Uruguay’s progeny,” The Lancet, 2019, 393:1092-3.

Birn, Anne-Emanuelle and Muntaner, Carles, “Latin American Social Medicine Across Borders: South-South Cooperation and the Making of Health Solidarity,” Global Public Health, online 2018, print version: 14, no. 6-7 (2019): 817-834.   

Birn, Anne-Emanuelle and Krementsov, Nikolai, "‘Socialising’ Primary Care? The Soviet Union, WHO, and the 1978 Alma-Ata Conference," BMJ Global Health online: 24 Oct 2018; published December 2018, vol 3, suppl. 3: 1-15. 3:e000992. doi:10.1136/bmjgh-2018-000992

Birn, Anne-Emanuelle, Shipton, Leah, and Schrecker, Ted, “Canadian mining and ill health in Latin America: A call to action,” Canadian Journal of Public Health, online 6 September 2018; print version Dec 2018: 109(5), 786-790

Birn, Anne-Emanuelle, “Back to Alma-Ata, From 1978 to 2018 and Beyond,” American Journal of Public Health, 2018, 108 (9): 1153-5.

Schrecker, Ted, Birn, Anne-Emanuelle, and Aguilera, Mariajosé, “How extractive industries affect health: Political economy underpinnings and pathways,” Health & Place, 2018, 52 (July): 135–147.

Birn, Anne-Emanuelle. “WHOse health agenda? 70 years of struggle over WHO's mandate,” The Lancet, 2018, 391: 1350-51.


Birn, Anne-Emanuelle and Richter, Judith.  “US Philanthrocapitalism and the Global Health Agenda: The Rockefeller and Gates Foundations, past and present,” in Howard Waitzkin and the Working Group on Health Beyond Capitalism, eds. Health Care Under the Knife: Moving Beyond Capitalism for Our Health, Monthly Review Press, 2018.

Also posted on:; and; and

French version: “Philanthrocapitalisme et santé mondiale: les fondations Rockefeller et Gates autrefois et actuellement, » and published on Mediapart, 4 October 2017:

Spanish version: “El filantrocapitalismo de los EUA y la agenda mundial de salud: las Fundaciones Rockefeller y Gates, pasado y presente,” Medicina Social  2016, 11, (3): 135-152.

Portuguese version: “Filantropo-capitalismo estadunidense e a agenda da saúde global: as fundações Rockefeller e Gates, passado e presente” Dossiê: Geografia e Saúde: uma aproximação possível e relevante 2018, 20(2): 27-39.

Selected Commentaries, Blogs, and Interviews since 2018:

Birn, Anne-Emanuelle, Amaya Perez-Brumer, Angela Mashford-Pringle, Roberta Timothy, and Lisa Forman, “A new Canadian citizenship guide is long overdue,” The Conversation 5 October 2020. 

Related radio interview:

Interviews in French on WHO and COVID-19, CBC radio: Y a pas 2 matins pareils/Jonction:




Baijayanta Mukhopadhyay, Lori Hanson, Klaudia Dmitrienko, Jannie Wing-Sea Leung, and Anne-Emanuelle Birn, “Letter to the editor: < Canada's global health role: Making Canadian global health “great again” is misguided,> Correspondence, The Lancet, 392(10162): 2349-2350, December 1, 2018.

Martha Roberts, Baijayanta Mukhopadhyay, Anne-Emanuelle Birn, Farah Shroff, Smita Pakhale, and Lori Hanson, “Alma-Ata at 40: Insights from Canada,” Health and Human Rights Journal, October 17, 2018.

Ramya Kumar and Anne-Emanuelle Birn, "Universal health coverage can best be achieved by public systems”  BMJ Opinion, 24 August 2018.

Birn, Anne-Emanuelle and Liisa North, “Canada must do more to tackle Central America’s refugee crisis,” The Hill Times, 30 July 2018.

Interview of Anne-Emanuelle Birn by Anne Jung, “Softdrinks statt Trinkwasser: 70 Jahre WHO: Die Privatisierung der Globalen Gesundheit kostet die Gesundheitsgerechtigkeit. (“Global health accountability is impeded by the power of private interests”), Medico International magazine, June 26, 2018, pp. 19-21,  and accompanying (uncut) blog   (both in German)

Sakura Saunders, Anne-Emanuelle Birn, Ben Brisbois, Donald C. Cole, Paul A. Hamel, Lori Hanson, Jamie Kneen, and Baijayanta Mukhopadhyay, “Who will publish eulogies for the victims of Barrick Gold?” Briarpatch, April 24, 2018.

Birn, Anne-Emanuelle. How did the plague impact health regulation? 20 March 2018 (blog)

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