Deadline: November 15, 2017

Jennifer Huer

In 2015, Princeton professors Anne Case and Angus Deaton wrote a groundbreaking paper that revealed a shocking increase in midlife mortality among white, non-Hispanic Americans between 1999 and 2013. Their report, and others since, have linked this trend to so-called “deaths of despair” (death from suicide, chronic substance use and overdoses) and their linkage to other determinants of health (inequality, education, labor markets, marital patterns). With this phenomenon in mind, the Center for Health Policy and Law at Northeastern University School of Law will focus on “Diseases of Despair: The Role of Law and Policy” at its 2018 annual health law conference.

The Center seeks abstracts for papers on this topic to be presented in conjunction with the conference, which will bring together topic experts, policymakers and academics to discuss the causes behind such trends, and to explore potential political, policy and legal responses for addressing broader determinants that affect the physical and mental health of Americans dying from these diseases of despair. Deeper examination into similar patterns among diverse populations, as well as analysis of continuing racial, ethnic and socioeconomic disparities, should be central to submitted papers.

The full conference day will take place on Friday, April 13, 2018. The selected papers will be presented at an academic workshop the afternoon before, on Thursday, April 12, 2018, which will focus on the legal roots and responses to diseases of despair, as well as exploring ways academics can meaningfully participate in effective and evidence-based research and policy-making.

Abstracts (max 250 words) will be accepted until November 15, 2017. Please send to: Decisions are anticipated around December 15, 2017. Final paper drafts will be due around June 1, 2018.

The center will cover travel and accommodations for those selected to present. Selected authors will also be invited to contribute to an issue of the Northeastern University Law Review (20,000 words, including footnotes and bibliography).

Early expressions of interest or full paper submissions are welcome.

Contact: Jennifer Huer,

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