2008-2009 Annual Report Download

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.