Center for Law, Health & Society faculty members congratulate Paula Kocher Barnes on her retirement this year after more than 40 years of federal service! She served as the deputy associate general counsel for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry branch since 2004 and had been at CDC for 32 years.
During her career at CDC, Barnes played a critical role in several significant public health events, including responses to 9/11, Anthrax, Ebola, Zika and several natural disasters. She also contributed to litigation efforts related to studies of environmental exposures, including Agent Orange, diesel, and radioactivity contamination. In addition to her legal work, Barnes wrote scholarly publications, including contributing to two public health law textbooks.
Barnes is a dear friend to the center, having served as an adjunct professor of Public Health Law, guest speaker, and an externship and fellowship site supervisor for law students and recent graduates. She has also shared her expertise with our faculty and students by giving public presentations, organizing CDC tours when the center hosted the American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics Health Law Professors Conference, participating in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded The Future of Public Health Law Education faculty fellowship program, and by answering the call whenever we needed her.
“Paula’s innumerable contributions to our students, graduates, faculty and the health law program itself have been invaluable over her lengthy career at CDC and her long association with the center,” said Charity Scott, Catherine C. Henson Professor of Law and former director of the center. “Above all, Paula is a role model of professional excellence and illustrates the strong and important impact that dedicated public service has for our community and our nation.”
She is an incredible mentor and colleague, and we wish her all the best in her retirement.