The Global Institute for Health and Human Rights was founded in 2012 by Doctors Kamiar Alaei and Arash Alaei along with other committed health and human rights professionals, borne out of a recognition of the disconnect between health and human rights on all levels.

One of the first campaigns by the Institute was the first annual Health and Human Rights Week in December 2012, which joined both professional and student organizations, culminating in a keynote address by Dr. Kamiar Alaei. That year, the Institute also presided over the creation of a Center for Health and Human rights in Virginia, the first of its kind and to include affordable healthcare services.

In February 2013, the Institute partnered with the PAHO/WHO Human Rights team to conduct the First Training Workshop on Health and Human Rights. This meeting gathered young health and human rights professionals to set the groundwork for the creation of the WHO/PAHO First Framework on Health and Human Rights for Prisoners.

In March 2013, the Institute was officially recognized by the University at Albany Council on Research.