2009-2010 Annual Report
2009-2010 has been another successful year for the Center, as we further consolidated our position as the preeminent academic institution examining how law intersects with health care, bioethics, and biotechnology.
Our academic fellowship program, offering two years of support and mentorship for post- graduates, continues its remarkable record as a pipeline to top academic positions. Our outgoing fellows published highly-lauded work on the interplay between health insurance mandates and health care fragmentation and how to avoid biased experts as part of medical malpractice trials. These papers were published respectively in the American Journal of Law and Medicine and the New York University Law Review. After turning down several other offers, they ultimately accepted professor positions at the law schools at UCLA and the University of Arizona, adding to the Center’s prior placements at Harvard, UC Berkeley, and Boston University. Our current academic fellows are working on papers in topics such as reforming the Patent and Trademark Office, and the effects on medical malpractice rules on obstetrics and other medical practices.
Our student fellows continue to produce impressive work on a broad range of issues in health law, bioethics, and biotechnology. The intensive mentorship from Petrie-Flom affiliated faculty and from our academic fellows continues to pay dividends in improving the quality of these students’ work, and we are pleased to have played a part in the placement of two of our former student fellows in positions at Duke Law School and the MIT economics department.
Our founding director, Einer Elhauge, published an edited volume with Oxford University Press this year entitled The Fragmentation of U.S. Health Care: Causes and Solutions, with papers stemming from a conference the Center convened two years ago, and which is both relevant and important in plotting the course forward.
Speaking of health reform, in our programming for the public, the Center capitalized on this exciting moment in health care history. Our program included events on the relationship between being under- and uninsured and going bankrupt or experiencing home foreclosure; an address from one member of Obama’s Domestic Policy Council and Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy on the then-evolving health reform plans on HIV/AIDS and disability rights issues; and an examination of comparative models for health reform. In the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sphere we convened leading thinkers to discuss the use of medical prize funds as alternative rewards for medical innovation; and the then-pending legislation on intellectual property protection for follow- on biologics. Our bioethics oriented programming included events on the new politics surrounding regulation of stem cell research, and how developments in neuroscience and evolutionary biology should impact our thinking about law and morality.
We also held four important closed-door events. The first brought together economists, philosophers, lawyers, and policy-makers to develop consensus on an appropriate set of metrics and tools for evaluating the impact of innovation on global health. The second focused on best practices and emerging legal and ethical issues in conducting multi- regional clinical trials and gathered high-level executives from the major pharmaceutical and biotech firms, academics from schools including Harvard, Duke, Toronto, Tufts, Penn, Johns Hopkins, foreign experts from Brazil, India, Malawi, the U.K., and the Czech Republic, and representatives of many government and private-public partnerships, including the National Institutes of Health and the Gates Foundation. The third event was a training program for approximately 40 federal judges to learn about the most recent research in neuroscience and what impacts they may or may not have on the legal cases they see in their courtrooms. Finally, our annual conference, this year entitled Moral Biology?? What (if anything) Can Advances in the Mind Sciences and Evolutionary Biology Tell Us about the Law and Morality, brought together a prestigious group of leading scholars in law, psychology, neurology, evolutionary biology, economics, and philosophy to discuss what implications developments in the mind sciences and evolutionary biology should have on moral and legal analysis of responsibility, punishment, addiction, cooperation, and racism
This report describes these accomplishments in greater detail, and briefly outlines plans for next year’s programming.