Dr. Leaning's research and policy interests include issues of public health, medical ethics, and early warning in response to war and disaster, human rights and international humanitarian law in crisis settings, and problems of human security in the context of forced migration and conflict. She has field experience in problems of public health assessment and human rights in a range of crisis situations (including Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Kosovo, the Middle East, former Soviet Union, Somalia, the Chad-Darfur border, and the African Great Lakes area) and has written widely on these issues.
Dr. Leaning serves on the boards of Physicians for Human Rights (an organization she co-founded), Amnesty International, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Oxfam America, International Rescue Committee, The Humane Society of the United States, and the Massachusetts Bay Chapter of the American Red Cross. She is visiting editor of the British Medical Journal, serves on the editorial board of Health and Human Rights, and is a member of the Board of Syndics at Harvard University Press. From 1999 to 2005, Dr. Leaning directed the Program on Humanitarian Crises and Human Rights at the Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health, during which time Dr. Leaning also served as editor-in-chief of Medicine & Global Survival, an international quarterly.