Anne-Emanuelle Birn

Anne-Emanuelle Birn
GDS and Dalla Lana School of Public Health
Telephone number
(416) 287-7322
Building HL 422

Anne-Emanuelle Birn is Professor of Global 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), Peripheral Nerve: Health and Medicine in Cold War Latin America, (Duke University Press, 2020), and Going Public: The Unmaking and Remaking of Universal Healthcare (Cambridge University Press, 2023). 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. She is the 2023 recipient of the Arthur J. Viseltear Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Public Health History, awarded by the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, and the Medical Care Section, American Public Health Association



  • B.A. in History and Science, Magna Cum Laude, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA
  • M.A. in History, First Class Honours, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Sc.D. in Health Policy/ History of Public Health, Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health,  Baltimore, MD, USA


  • Graduate Collaborative Program in Women and Gender Studies (Cross-listed faculty)
  • Latin American Studies (Affiliated faculty member)
  • Mentor, Collaborative Graduate Program in Women’s Health
  • Fellow, Global Health Promotion Consortium
  • Associate Senior Fellow, Massey College


Teaching Interests

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

Research Interests



Kumar, Ramya and Birn, Anne-Emanuelle. Going Public: The Unmaking and Remaking of Universal Healthcare, Cambridge University Press, ‘Elements’ Series on Global Development Studies, December 2023.

Birn, Anne-Emanuelle Going Public: The Unmaking and Remaking of Universal Healthcare (Cambridge University Press, 2023) 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.


Birn, Anne-Emanuelle, Ramya Kumar, Erika Arteaga-Cruz, Baone Twala, & Mbali Baduza, “Imagining alternative paths for WHO 75 years in,” The Lancet, Vol 401 April 8, 2023, pp. 1149-51. Spanish-language version:

Birn, Anne-Emanuelle, Aguilera, MJ, and Khare, N., & Schrecker, Ted, “Canada Kills, Inc.: A critical political economy of health analysis of Canadian mining in Latin America and the Caribbean,” Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies / Revue canadienne des études latino-américaines et caraïbes, 2023.

Birn, Anne-Emanuelle; Pollero, Raquel. “Public Health in Uruguay, 1830s-1940s.” In The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History. New York: Oxford University Press, 2023.

Birn, Anne-Emanuelle, et. al., “People’s Health Movement-Canada interviews activists in Ecuador struggling against Canadian mining,” Revue Caminando vol. 37, no. 1 (mai 2023).

Wigle, J.M., Paul, S., Birn, A.E., Gladstone, B., Kalolo, M., Banda, L., & Braitstein, P. “Participation of Girls and Young Women in Sexual and Reproductive Health Decision-Making in Malawi: Local Realities versus Global Rhetoric,” PLoS Global Public Health 2022, 2(11): e0001297.

Ramya Kumar, Anne-Emanuelle Birn, Rupaleem Bhuyan, & Josephine Wong, “Universal health coverage and public-private arrangements within Sri Lanka’s mixed health system: Perspectives from women seeking healthcare,” Social Science and Medicine, Volume 296, March 2022, 114777.

Birn, Anne-Emanuelle. “De Montevideo au Monde: l’Institut International Américain de Protection de l’Enfance et la circulation des politiques uruguayennes de l’enfance,” Monde(s): Histoire, espaces, relations 2021, 20 (2): 67-97.

Lin, Yi-Tang and Birn, Anne-Emanuelle, “Santé globale: des acteurs négligés, des histoires redécouvertes,” Monde(s): Histoire, espaces, relations 2021, 20 (2): 9-27.

Hochman, Gilberto and Birn, Anne-Emanuelle, “Pandemias e epidemias em perspectiva histórica: uma introdução, Topoi. Revista de História 2021, 22(48): 577-587.

Birn, Anne-Emanuelle, “Alternative Latin American Health Links and “Mobilities” ~ before and during the Cold War,” Special issue: Disease and Health in Latin American History (in Chinese), Journal of Social History of Medicine and Health 医疗社会史研究 (Shanghai), Vol. VI, No. 2, 2021. 医疗社会史研究(第12辑).pdf

Cortinois, Andrea and Birn, Anne-Emanuelle “What’s technology got to do with it? Power, politics, and health equity beyond technological triumphalism,” Global Policy, 2021, 12(S6): 75-79.

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.


Global Health Matters Podcast (TDR: UNICEF, UNDP, WHO): Decolonization, localization and WHO - History matters part 1, May 9, 2023:

Video teaser:

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:

and 27/4/20.

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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