HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Friday, June 21, 2013

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Makes Impressive Committent to Public Health Law


I am just back from Austin where I was privileged to attend the "launch" meeting of the Scholars in Residence Program, one of five fellowship programs funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in order to enhance and promote public health law.  This press release  put out by the Network for Public Health Law gives more detail on the scholars (I'm proud to say I'm one of them) and our projects.  They are:

Jennifer S. Bard, Alvin R. Allison Professor of Law and Director of the Health Law Program and JD/MD program at Texas Tech University School of Law, will explore the interface between property rights and public health needs relating to nuisance and disease-spreading insects such as bed bugs and mosquitos. She will work with the City of Lubbock, Texas.    

Alex Capron, University Professor at the University of Southern California and the Scott H. Bice Chair in Healthcare Law, Policy and Ethics at the Gould School of Law, will examine federal rules on human subjects research relating to the surveillance of pathogens and viruses. He will work with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Mary Crossley, Professor of Law and former Dean at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, will identify innovative ways in which California health officials can use their legal authority to address the growing burden of chronic diseases through interventions targeting risk behaviors and social and economic factors that impact health. She will work with the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

Sharona Hoffman, Edgar A. Hahn Professor of Law and Professor of Bioethics at Case Western Reserve University, as well as Co-Director of the Law School’s Law-Medicine Center, will develop enforcement guidance for regulation of in-home care agencies in order to improve compliance and protect the well-being of the vulnerable individuals served by these agencies. She will work with the Oregon Health Authority in Portland.

Browne Lewis, Leon & Gloria Plevin Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Health Law & Policy at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, will focus on current state and federal preemption issues regarding local government regulation of the labeling, marketing and sale of small cigars. She will work with both the Cleveland Department of Public Health and the Shaker Heights Department of Public Health.

Polly J. Price, Professor at Law at Emory University School of Law, will address the coordination of public health agencies in providing long-term tuberculosis therapy among migrants along the U.S. border with Mexico.  She will work with public health agencies in El Paso, Texas and Las Cruces, New Mexico.



The meeting gave the six scholars, their supervisors from health departments all over the country, project leader Professor Fran Miller, RWJ liason and senior program officer Angela K. Mcgowan and consultant Nancy Kaufman and the team from the Network for Public Health Law, Judy Schector and Jackie Rose (Sara Rohde stayed behind to keep things running) a chance to meet and learn about the exciting projects and plans.

If anyone is not yet familiar with the Network for Public Health Law or their work, take a minute right now to join (its free).   This is how it describes itself: "The Network for Public Health Law provides insightful legal assistance, helpful resources and opportunities to build connections for local, tribal, state and federal officials; public health practitioners; attorneys; policy-makers; and advocate."  And indeed the assistance it provides is remarkable--it has put together a group of experts available to answer, free of charge, public health law questions.

The Network is linked with an impressive array of other RWJ funded public health law programs specifically:

In addition to the Scholars in Residence, RWJ has already launched the the Visiting Attorney Fellows Program

There is also an active, and free of charge, students network designed to support law students interested in public health.

In the fall, a program directed by Charity Scott, Catherine C. Henson Professor of Law and center director, and
Stacie Kershner (J.D. ’08), associate director at The Georgia State College of Law's Center for Law, Health and Society will start accepting applications for "an intensive summer institute, work on course development, and create and direct
externships, clinics and other experiential-learning opportunities in public
health law. Experienced faculty mentors will guide these efforts, which will be
supplemented with connections to resources and organizations focused on public
health law in the practice setting."

Anyone with an interest in using the law to protect the public's health should be closely following the RWJ Foundation's innovative programing.

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