2008-2009 Annual Report
The 2008-2009 academic year marked the third year of the Petrie-Flom Center. Under the leadership of Visiting Faculty Director, Anup Malani, the Center’s curricular and public events programming brought together a highly diverse group of students, scholars and practitioners in the fields of health law, health policy, bioethics and biotechnology to further the Center’s mission of generating quality research in these rapidly changing fields.
Given the potentially dramatic changes to these fields with the 2008 presidential elections, this year’s programming addressed a wide array of pressing health care topics. The Center’s public events tackled issues ranging from the role of dignity in medical decision making, to the competing healthcare reform proposals of the 2008 presidential candidates. The year culminated with a conference on the legal and economic challenges to research and development in the pharmaceutical industry. All of the Center’s events featured participation from nationally-recognized scholars and prominent industry practitioners, as well as enthusiastic participation from members of the Law School and greater Harvard University community.
The centerpieces of the Center’s curricular activities were the Health Law Policy Workshop and the first annual Colloquium of Student Research in Health Law. Responding to increasing interest from faculty and students across the University, Prof. Malani convened the Health Law Policy Workshop weekly for two semesters (rather than just one). Researchers from a wide variety of disciplines were invited to present their findings to an audience of peers and students from across Harvard University. The cross-disciplinary nature demonstrated the many different approaches scholars employ to grapple with the complex problems of our healthcare system. The Student Colloquium likewise received an enthusiastic response. This one day conference showcased health law research papers by a dozen students from across Harvard University. Students who presented their research gained valuable experience presenting their findings, and important feedback from faculty and fellows of the Center. Our hope is that the large audience of students was inspired to pursue their own research projects and present them at next year’s Colloquium.
Finally, with respect to our aim of developing new law and policy scholars specializing health law, the Center extended its track record of successful placements. Our Academic Fellows on the entry-level law professors’ market landed tenure track positions at the University of California Berkeley’s Boalt Law School and at the Boston University Law School. The Center continued to address the demand for health scholarship from existing professors. A greater number of Law School professors applied for and received grants to conduct summer research, and they represented specialists from a wider variety of fields of specialty than ever before, including bankruptcy, torts, patent law, and disability law.
This report describes these accomplishments in greater detail.