O'Neill Institute

O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law Newsletter - January 2016

O'Neill Institute
O'Neill Institute
O'Neill Institute Newsletter




2016 National Health Policy Conference
February 2-3, 2016
Washington, D.C.

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Marijuana Legalization and the Public Health Community
By: Lawrence Gostin, Fernanda Alonso, and Oscar Cabrera

The Promise and Pitfalls of Eradicating Hepatitis C
By: Sonia Canzater, O'Neill Institute Associate 

The Persisting Toll of Global Health Inequity
By: Eric Friedman, O'Neill Institue Associate 

HIV and Medical Bills: The Importance of the Affordable Care Act and the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program
By: Sean Bland, O'Neill Institute Associate 

Public Health: A Missing Link in the Executive Action to Reduce Gun Violence
By: Aliza Glasner, O'Neill Institute Associate 
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                                                          Daniel Hougendobler, O'Neill 



Happy New Year!  2016 is off to a running start at the O'Neill Institute.  I am excited for all that we have in store this year.  Our project on public health approaches to marijuana legalization will get underway in earnest this year.  In March, we will have our third and final meeting of The Lancet-O’Neill Institute, Georgetown University Commission on Global Health and the Law at the Bellagio Center in Italy, laying the groundwork for the Commission Report later this year. And this summer, we will hold our summer course, the Global School on Health Rights Litigation, with the FXB Center for Health & Human Rights at Harvard University.

I wish you a happy 2016 and look forward to sharing more institute updates in the coming months!


This June, the O'Neill Institute, in collaboration with the FXB Center for Health & Human Rights at Harvard University will conduct the "Global School on Health Rights Litigation."  The Global School is a one-week intensive training course for academics, students, and practitioners in strategic litigation relating to health rights, and in particular the health rights of women and children. This intensive course offers participants an opportunity to develop specialist-level knowledge in relation to litigating health-related rights at the national, regional, and international levels.

Topics covered include: sexual and reproductive health and rights; rights issues arising in health-care settings; palliative care; approaches to health-care rationing and factors to consider in assessing the equity impacts of judgments; access to medicines and intellectual property; judicial legitimacy in deciding issues with budgetary and policy implications; and judicial effectiveness and impact of judgments.

This year's Global School will take place June 13-17, 2016 at the Georgetown Law campus in Washington DC.  Applications are being accepted here

Application Deadline: April 1, 2016


The Global Health Law LL.M. Program offers a number of interesting and innovative courses for Georgetown Law students.  Students were offered the opportunity to take the following two courses in January, offered by selected O'Neill Institute Senior Scholars and staff.

Ebola, MERS, and the One Health Model of Global Outbreaks

O'Neill Institute Senior Scholar, Daniel Lucey and Institute Associate, Daniel Hougendobler are currently co-teaching this course, which focuses on the legal, public health and medical challenges presented by the ongoing Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Ebola epidemics within the "One Health" paradigm--a more inclusive and integrated 3-part framework that takes into account the health of humans, animals, and the environment. The course will address the legal response to epidemic disease, focusing particularly on the World Health Organization's International Health Regulations and will cover recent developments, such as the critical findings of an independent panel that examined the WHO's response to the Ebola epidemic. In addition, the students will benefit from Professor Lucey's personal perspective based on on-the-ground work in responding to Ebola in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea, as well as to MERS throughout the Middle East and Korea.

Law, Healthy Lifestyles, and Business Regulation

Our Senior Scholar Roger Magnusson (who holds an appointment as a Professor of Health Law and Governance at the Sydney Law School, University of Sydney, Australia) taught this course as part of Week One at Georgetown Law.  This course is about legal responses to tobacco use, obesity, poor diet, alcohol abuse and sedentary lifestyle – the leading causes of preventable disease in the United States, high-income countries, and increasingly, also in developing economies.  The deeper goal of this course is to nudge public health law in a new direction, so that it becomes meaningful to discuss legal and regulatory responses to cancer, heart disease and diabetes, rather than just the relationship between law and specific risk factors.

We are accepting applications for the Global Health Law LL.M. class of 2016-2017.  More information can be found here. Questions? Email LL.M. Program Director Ana Ayala at


We continue our profile series about our associates, fellows and faculty as described “in their own words.” In this edition, meet Susan C. Kim, JD, MPH, MBA, Deputy Director of the O’Neill Institute.

Susan holds a law degree from the University of Connecticut, a Master of Public Health in health management and policy from the University of Michigan School of Public Health, and a Master of Business Administration from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University.

Do you remember when you first realized a career in law was a good fit for you? 

I had been telling people I was going to be a lawyer since I was three years old. This makes me suspect that it wasn’t entirely my idea. My parents are first-generation immigrants - very salt of the earth, hardworking, small business owners. Despite not being formally educated on this stuff, they intuited early on that to survive in the United States, you needed to be familiar with the paper chase. They got into a fairly intense lawsuit when I was seven, and I remember having a dictionary on one side of me and stacks of legal documents on the other trying to make sense of what everything meant. So as far back as I can recall, I’ve never considered doing anything else . . .

Susan's Full Q&A

Lawrence O. Gostin and Anna E. Roberts, "Physician-Assisted Dying - A Turning Point?," JAMA, published online January 19, 2016

Kenneth W. Lin and Lawrence O. Gostin, "A Public Health Framework for Screening Mammography," JAMA, published online January 18, 2016

Lawrence O. Gostin and Eric A. Friedman, “The Sustainable Development Goals: One-Health in the World’s Development Agenda,” JAMA, published online December 14, 2015

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