July 12, 2012
ATLANTA – Six faculty members, two faculty fellows, and one academic professional from Georgia State University College of Law attended the 35th Annual Health Law Professors Conference, which was held June 7-9, 2012, in Phoenix, Arizona. The conference was co-hosted by the American Society of Law Medicine & Ethics, the Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, and the Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics at Arizona State University.
The conference brought together over 175 professors of health law to discuss current health law topics, best practices in teaching health law, and innovative course offerings. Conference attendees were also able to network with their colleagues from across the country.
Attendees were able to participate in a sessions led by health law professors and experts on a variety of topical areas. "I thought the session on health care reform, which focused on issues with Medicaid, was terrific," said Leslie Wolf, Professor of Law. "It's always a good sign when you want to use the slides from someone with whom you fundamentally disagree because the points made were thoughtful and informative and will benefit your students."
The conference was beneficial to new as well as seasoned professors. "As a new professor, this collegial atmosphere offered me the opportunity to bounce ideas off professors who have been teaching for a while," said Courtney Anderson, Assistant Professor. Added Roberta Berry, Faculty Fellow with Georgia State Law and Associate Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, "I always appreciate the opportunity to network with our counterparts at other schools and learn about new and innovative research and teaching methods."
Several GSU Law professors also presented at the conference. Charity Scott, Professor and Director of the Center for Law, Health & Society, coordinated a World Cafe at the opening Jay Healey plenary teaching session on best practices in health law teaching, along with Sidney Watson, Professor at Saint Louis University School of Law. The World Cafe was an experimental format used for the first time at this annual conference," said Scott. "It allowed participants to engage with each other both substantively on best practices and challenges in health law teaching, as well as collegially and informally in small round-table settings."
"This session was very helpful to stimulate discussion on the future content and process for legal education and encouraged attendees to address these issues," commended Randall Hughes, Faculty Fellow with GSU Law.
Paul Lombardo, Professor of Law, presented on a panel about unethical research that was conducted in Guatemala in the mid-20th century by the U.S. Public Health Service to study the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases. "Our presentation was part of an outreach effort encouraged by the Presidential Commission on the Study of Bioethical Issues," he said. "We hoped to call additional attention to Commission reports and other online materials related to the Guatemala studies, so that teachers of health law and bioethics may use them as instructional tools."
Wolf chaired a session on reform in human subjects research, which discussed the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) proposals to change the Common Rule reflected in Advance Notice of Proposed Rule Making, the President's Commission's recommendations for change in its Moral Science report, some administrative challenges to the way HHS is proceeding, and a discussion of novel areas in science which highlighted gaps in the proposals for change. She observed, "The session was very well received because the presentations highlighted both the need for change to current human subjects regulations and the opportunities to make a contribution in this area."
Yaniv Heled, Assistant Professor, participated in a panel on cutting-edge health law and policy. His presentation focused on the difficulty of defining 'human organism.' "Recent patent reform prohibits the patenting of inventions 'directed to or encompassing a human organism,'" he said. "The problem is that 'human organism' is not defined, thereby forcing the Patent Office to deal with this challenging question."
Sylvia Caley, Associate Clinical Professor and Co-Director of the HeLP Legal Services Clinic, presented at two sessions focused on the value of experiential learning methods. "Medical-legal partnerships and policy development courses are two examples that offer students a practical way to develop lawyering skills and a unique opportunity to see how their efforts can have an impact," she said.
GSU health law professors are already planning to attend next year's conference, which will be held at Seton Hall University School of Law. "After more than 20 years of coming to this meeting, it remains the best single conference in health law," said Lombardo. "I always learn from the presentations, I always meet new people, and I always see some of my best friends."
Stacie P. Kershner, JD
Associate Director, Center for Law, Health & Society