2007-2008 Annual Report image


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Executive Summary

The Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics is pleased to submit the report of activities 2007-2008 academic year. This year has seen the completion of our first full cycle of the Academic Fellowship Program and witnessed astounding accomplishments not only in this initiative, but across the full range of our activities. The appointment to the Harvard Law School faculty of the only two Petrie-Flom Academic Fellows on the entry-level law professor's job market, Glenn Cohen and Benjamin Roin has been the dramatic highlight of the year's successes. Our primary focus has been on using the academic fellowship program to develop a new generation of schol ars interested in issues of health law policy, biotechnology and bioethics. Indeed, we expect that the scholars, affiliates and partners of the Center will contribute to the legacy of our programs for many years to come, as their careers grow and th ey are asked to lead the nation with their expert insights on a field that needs serious consideration. With the current and predicted growth and changes to healthcare facing our soci ety, the Center's role will only increase in importance and prominence in the coming decades. Already the Center has served as a model for the foundi ng of similar centers at Georgetown and other law schools, and we were recently approached by a Ko rean university seeking a model for how to organize its own center.

We also have considerable su ccess to report with respect to our goals to elevate the level of rigorous scholarship in health la w. Our workshop continues to offer a forum for rigorous analysis of cutting-edge schol arship, and has connected leading scholars at all of Harvard's major health centered schools and other universities from across the country. Many of the works presented at those sessions have been published in journals such as the New England Journa l of Medicine and the Georgetown and Michigan Law Reviews. Also we have accomplished the goal of promoting high- level scholarship by inducing existing Harvard faculty to use their expertise to focus on long-neglected issues fall ing with the Center's ma ndate. Our senior fellow, Professor Frances Kamm, one of the world' s leading philosophers, has spent the year writing a book on bioethics, a nd providing invaluable mentorship to our fellows. Since the establishment of the Petrie-Flom Center, the faculty summer grants program has helped induce many Harvard Law Sc hool faculty members to write new, important research in the long unaddressed issues related to health and law. This year we have had an unprecedented eight applic ations for these grants, a remarkable transformation from before the Center existed.

Increasingly, students are engaging with the Center through our programmatic and curricular initiatives with enthusiasm and a level of academic maturity that is unparalleled by other specialized areas of instruction at the Law School. Recently, the Center hosted an open house for stude nts admitted to Harvard Law School who were visiting to decide whethe r to matriculate. As a resu lt of their interactions with our fellows and faculty, several students being courted by other leading law schools made the decision to attend Harvard. Add itionally, this year's class of student fellows produced exceptionally sophisticated scholarship in their independent writing projects. We expect many of them will continue their pursuit of health law and perhaps be future candidates for post- graduate fellowships at the Center.

The involvement of these constituents in the Center's work, in addition to the participation of broad communities of indivi duals interested in our work through our events and conference programming describe d in further detail below, helps the Center enjoy a well regarded and firmly es tablished reputation as one of the nation's leading institutions for the development a nd discourse of legal, policy and ethical issues related to h ealthcare and society.