Jonathan Mann (WHO official)

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Jonathan Mann
Jonathan Max Mann

(1947-07-30)July 30, 1947[1]
DiedSeptember 2, 1998(1998-09-02) (aged 51)
Atlantic Ocean near St. Margaret's Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada
Cause of deathPlane crash of Swissair Flight 111
Alma mater
Known forAdministrator for the World Health Organization
Spouse(s)Marie-Paule Bondat (1970–1995; divorced)
Mary Lou Clements-Mann (1996–1998; their deaths)[1]
Childrenone son, two daughters

Jonathan Max Mann (July 30, 1947 – September 2, 1998) was an American physician who was an administrator for the World Health Organization, and spearheaded early AIDS research in the 1980s.


Mann was president of the National Honor Society in the Newton South High School class of 1965. He earned his B.A. magna cum laude from Harvard College, his M.D. from Washington University in St. Louis (1974), and the degree of M.P.H. from the Harvard School of Public Health in 1980.[2]


Mann joined the Centers for Disease Control in 1975, staying there until 1977 when he became the State Epidemiologist for New Mexico, until 1984.[2]

He moved to Zaire in March 1984 as a founder of Project SIDA, an effort to study AIDS in Africa, after being recruited by fellow epidemiologist Joseph B. McCormick.[3] In 1986 he founded the WHO's Global Programme for AIDS, resigning this post in 1990 to protest the lack of response from the United Nations with regard to AIDS, and the actions of the then WHO director-general Hiroshi Nakajima.[4]

In 1990, Mann founded the health and human rights organization HealthRight International (initially known as Doctors of the World-USA), to fill a void he perceived amongst the health and human rights organizations in the United States and to create a unique organization whose mission was to create sustainable programs that promote and protect health and human rights in the United States and abroad.[5]

Mann directed the launch in 1994 of the journal [1]Health and Human Rights (journal), published by the François Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights, which he also helped to establish.[2]

Mann died in the 1998 crash of Swissair Flight 111 along with his second wife, AIDS researcher Mary Lou Clements-Mann.[4] At the time of his death, Mann was the dean of the Allegheny University School of Public Health (now Drexel University School of Public Health) in Philadelphia.

Promoting health and human rights[edit]

Mann was a pioneer in advocating combining public health, ethics and human rights. He theorized and actively promoted the idea that human health and human rights are integrally and inextricably connected, arguing that these fields overlap in their respective philosophies and objectives to improve health, well-being, and to prevent premature death.[6]

Mann proposed a three-pronged approach to the fundamental issue of the relationship between health and human rights. First, health is a human rights issue. Secondly (and conversely), human rights are a health issue. Human rights violations result in adverse health effects.[7] Thirdly, linkages exist between health and human rights (a hypothesis to be rigorously tested).[8] Literature substantiates the effects of the first two points, but Mann and colleagues proceeded to call for the validation of the third point and challenged the world to practice it.[9] His work led to the development of the Four-Step Impact Assessment, a multi-disciplinary approach of evaluating interdependent and overlapping elements of both disciplines of human rights and Public Health.

With this framework, Mann attempted to bridge a perceived gap of philosophies, correspondence and vocabulary, education and training, recruitment, and work methods between the disciplines of bioethics, jurisprudence, public health law and epidemiology. Furthermore, Mann knew that the history of "conflictual relationships" between officials of public health and civil liberties workers presented challenges to the pursuit of what he called a "powerful" confluence of health and human rights – a positive approach.[10]


  • Gorna, Robin; Mann, Jonathan M. (1996). Vamps, Virgins, and Victims: How Can Women Fight AIDS?. Cassell. ISBN 978-0-304-32809-3.
  • Mann, Jonathan M.; Gruskin, S; Grodin, MA; Annas, GJ, eds. (1999). Health and Human Rights: A Reader. New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-92102-2.
  • Mann, Jonathan M.; Tarantola, D. (1996). AIDS in the World II: Global Dimensions, Social Roots, and Responses. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-509097-0.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b Tarantola, Daniel (September 5, 1998). "Obituary: Jonathan Mann and Mary Lou Clements-Mann". The Independent. Retrieved July 18, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Hilts, Phillip J. (September 4, 1998). "Jonathan Mann, AIDS Pio neer, Is Dead at 51". The New York Times.
  3. ^ Garrett, Laurie (1994). The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. p. 351. ISBN 978-1-4299-5327-6.
  4. ^ a b Collins, Huntly (September 4, 1998). "AIDS Pioneer Among the Victims: Jonathan Mann was one of first to warn of potential global devastation". The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  5. ^ Committee for the Study of the Future of Public Health (1988). Future of Public Health. Washington DC: National Academy Press. pp. 1–7. ISBN 0-309-03831-6.
  6. ^ Gostin, LO (Summer 2001). "Public Health, Ethics, and Human Rights: A Tribute to the late Jonathan Mann". Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics. 29 (2): 121–130. doi:10.1111/j.1748-720X.2001.tb00330.x. PMID 11508186.
  7. ^ Schusky, Read Weaver (19 December 1998). "Jonathan Mann's mantle". The Lancet. 352 (9145): 2025. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(05)61377-3. PMID 9872284.
  8. ^ Mann, Jonathan M.; Gruskin, S; Grodin, MA; Annas, GJ, eds. (1999). Health and Human Rights: A Reader. New York: Routledge. pp. 11–18. ISBN 978-0-415-92102-2.
  9. ^ Marks, SP (Summer 2001). "Jonathan Mann's legacy to the 21st century: The human rights imperative for public health". Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics. 29 (2): 131–138. doi:10.1111/j.1748-720X.2001.tb00331.x. PMID 11508187.
  10. ^ Mann, Jonathan M.; Gruskin, S; Grodin, MA; Annas, GJ, eds. (1999). Health and Human Rights: A Reader. New York: Routledge. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-415-92102-2.