June 2012 PFC Newsletter
From the Faculty co-Directors
This has been another great year for the Petrie-Flom Center and for health law, health policy, bioethics, and biotechnology at Harvard Law School. The Affordable Care Act – both its constitutionality, the question before the Supreme Court, and its implementation if it is upheld – continued to be a focal point of the Center and its faculty’s scholarship, media commentary, and public events. We were again fortunate to work with the Federal Judicial Center to provide training to federal judges, this time by focusing on health policy aspects of offender re-entry and reducing recidivism, with a keynote from the Deputy Attorney General of the United States, James Cole. Together with the Autism Self-Advocacy Network, the Center hosted a symposium on ethical, legal, and social implications of autism research. We also hosted events on the ethics of stem cell research and reproductive technology practices. Our annual conference, this year titled “the Future of Human Subjects Research Regulation,” brought together more than 80 leading thinkers on the subject to provide reflections and advice to the Department of Health and Human Services as it undertakes a revision of the main rules regulating human subjects research in the U.S. Our workshop continues to be the premiere forum for students and faculty to help develop new scholarship, and we were joined this year by (among others) Tom Baker, Richard Epstein, Mark Hall, and Al Roth. Our student fellows continue to produce top-notch scholarship under the mentorship of our faculty and academic fellows, with papers on subjects as diverse as the commercialization of health technology, the organization and regulation of surrogacy brokerages, conflicts of interest in pharmaceutical marketing, distracted driving laws, and genetically modified crops.
We are expecting another banner year in 2012-2013. On November 2, 2012, we will be hosting a major event on Institutional Financial Conflicts of Interest in Research Universities, featuring among others NIH Director Francis Collins and former Harvard President Derek Bok. With the help of our new Executive Director, Holly Fernandez Lynch, we plan to launch several new initiatives that we hope will even further extend the great work done by our students, faculty, and university. There has never been a better time to be working in these fields, and we are excited to continue to be a part of it!