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(NECN: Beth Shelburne) - This weekend the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Over the years, the graduate school has been instrumental in teaching, research and advocacy on a wide range of issues. But these days no topic is getting as much air as health care reform. NECN's Beth Shelburne introduces some of the voices of the Heller School, including one professor who sparked a national discussion on women's rights. October of 1991- a young lawyer named Anita Hill testified during the Senate confirmation hearings of then Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. Her allegations ignited a political firestorm- and broke open the issue of sexual harassment. That was then. This is now. "When I testified in 1991 there had been no conversation- everyone was aware of what went on in the workplace you couldn't be in a workplace without knowing these kind of things, harassment situations occurred but there was no attention to it on a national level and in many ways very little done about it as a collective." Since then, the conversation about sexual harassment has evolved- and so has Anita Hill. She's a professor of social justice, law and women's studies at Brandeis’s Heller School, tackling issues like gender equality and health care reform- with a message. "That rights are not something that we should be embarrassed about pursuing or that we should feel badly about pursuing- but that rights are something that really is what keeps our country strong and that we should all embrace those as well as help other people when their rights are being violated." A commitment to human rights is a cornerstone of the Heller School. Health policy expert Stuart Altman has worked at Heller since 1977- he says what sets it apart from other institutions is a commitment to understanding complex issues and a willingness to implement solutions. "So you'll see Heller graduates both in policy arenas, developing the policy- you'll see them working for government, you'll see them working for not-for-profit organizations, implementing them, so Heller- while its an academically based organization is very much an action oriented group." A big part of the action today is clearly focused on health care reform. The school had a substantial role in helping craft Massachusetts' health plan- An accomplishment not missed by students like Brian Schon- who's studying health care policy and one day hopes to serve in the Massachusetts state legislature. "I've been here for eight years now and I really think Massachusetts can be a model for the rest of the country- Massachusetts healthcare is working in most ways and I would like to help improve that model and really expand health coverage here in the commonwealth to show the rest of the nation they should give health care to everyone. So you've got your eye on politics- hopefully, we'll see." Big goals- part of the Heller School tradition where solutions to far-reaching problems are never easy- but are worthy of careful and constant examination- Whether its healthcare reform- child abuse laws or race relations- the school has been a pioneer in working toward a common ground. A commitment to social justice so no one is left behind. "Whether the exclusions come because of race or gender or income all of those things matter in this country in terms of what kinds of opportunities are available to individuals and I wanted to be in a place that was pursuing an end to those disparities."