Annual Health Law Lecture

Annual Health Law Lecture

The Center for Health Policy and Law’s 2022 lecture was delivered by Professor Sarah S. Richardson, a member of the faculty at Harvard University. An expert in the history and philosophy of the sciences of sex, gender, sexuality and reproduction, she also writes and teaches about race and science, history and philosophy of biology, feminist epistemology and philosophy of science, and the social dimensions of scientific knowledge. Her most recent book is The Maternal Imprint: The Contested Science of Maternal-Fetal Effects.
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Watch the lecture: Biological Sex Essentialism in Law and Public Policy

There is prolific interplay between legal and biomedical understandings of sex in law and public policy. Efforts of institutions and states to assign individuals to “male” or “female” on a biological basis are ongoing and frequently challenged in courts in contexts such school bathrooms, sport competitions, identity documents and access to healthcare.  Law and policy makers regularly appeal to biological or scientific authority when defining sex, and scientists who study sex differences are routinely called upon as experts. Definitions of sex carry implications for the scope of legal protection afforded to people of all genders/sexes. Given this, how should legal experts interpret the often-contested state of knowledge on the biology of sex, and what are scientists’ responsibilities when conducting sex difference research and translating it to wider audiences?

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and its Center for Health Policy and Law

  • Friday, October 22, 2021
    12:45 - 2:10 PM | Zoom

    Harriet A. Washington
    Science writer, editor and medical ethicist

    Harriet A. Washington is a prolific science writer, editor and ethicist who is the author of the seminal Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present, which won a National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN/Oakland Award, and the American Library Association Black Caucus Nonfiction Award and five other well-received books, including A Terrible Thing to Waste: Environmental Racism and Its Assault on the American Mind as well as Carte Blanche: The Erosion of Informed Consent in Medical Research, published in 2021 by Columbia Global Reports.

    Washington is a writing fellow in bioethics at Harvard Medical School, a fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine, has been the 2015-2016 Miriam Shearing Fellow at the University of Nevada's Black Mountain Institute. She has also been a research fellow in Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical School, a visiting fellow at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, a visiting scholar at DePaul University College of Law and a senior research scholar at the National Center for Bioethics at Tuskegee University. She has held fellowships at Stanford University and teaches bioethics at Columbia University, where she delivered the 2020 commencement speech to Columbia’s School of Public Health graduates and won Columbia’s 2020 Mailman School Of Public Health’s Public Health Leadership Award, as well as its 2020-21 Kenneth and Mamie Clark Distinguished Lecture Award.

    Washington has written widely for popular publications and has been published in referenced books and journals such as Nature, JAMA, The American Journal of Public Health, The New England Journal of Medicine, the Harvard Public Health Review, Isis and The Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics. She has been editor of the Harvard Journal of Minority Public Health, a guest editor of the Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics and served as a reviewer for the Journal of the American Association of Bioethics and the Humanities.

    Ms. Washington has also worked as a classical-music announcer for public radio and curates a medical-film series.

    Sponsored by Northeastern University School of Law and its Center for Health Policy and Law

  • Friday, November 6, 2020
    12:10 - 1:30 PM | Virtual

    Civil Rights During a Pandemic: Privacy, Protest and Racial Justice

    Esha Bhandari
    Senior Staff Attorney, Speech, Privacy & Technology Project, ACLU

    Esha Bhandari
    Senior Staff Attorney, Speech, Privacy & Technology Project, ACLU

    Esha Bhandari is a senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s Project on Speech, Privacy, and Technology, where she works on litigation and advocacy to protect freedom of expression and privacy rights in the digital age. She also focuses on the impact of big data and artificial intelligence on civil liberties. She has litigated cases including Sandvig v. Barr, a First Amendment challenge to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act on behalf of researchers who test for housing and employment discrimination online, and Alasaad v. Wolf, a challenge to suspicionless electronic device searches at the U.S. border.

    Esha was previously an Equal Justice Works fellow with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, where she was involved in litigating cases concerning a right to counsel in immigration proceedings and immigration detainer policies. Esha is a graduate of McGill University, where she was a Loran Scholar and received the Allen Oliver Gold Medal in Political Science, the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and Columbia Law School. She served as a law clerk to the Hon. Amalya L. Kearse of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

    Sponsored by Northeastern University School of Law and its Center for Health Policy and Law

  • Friday, October 25, 2019
    12:00 - 1:30 PM | 240 Dockser Hall

    We Will Be Citizens: From AIDS Activism to Mobilizing for (Health) Justice…


    Gregg Gonsalves
    Yale University
    Assistant Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases), School of Public Health
    Associate (Adjunct) Professor of Law, Yale Law School
    Co-Director, Global Health Justice Partnership
    Co-Director, Collaboration for Research Integrity and Transparency

    Greg GonalvesGregg Gonsalves’ research focuses on the use of quantitative models for improving the response to epidemic diseases. For more than 20 years, he worked on HIV/AIDS and other global health issues with several organizations, including the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP), the Treatment Action Group, Gay Men’s Health Crisis and the AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa. He was also a fellow at the Open Society Foundations and in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School in 2011-2012. He is a 2011 graduate of Yale College and received his PhD from Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences/School of Public Health in 2017. He is a 2018 MacArthur Fellow.

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  • #JusticeForJane: What Happened and What Comes Next in the Fight For Abortion Access

    Friday, November 9, 2018

    Brigitte Amiri '99, a deputy director at the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project, delivered the Center for Health Policy and Law’s annual health law lecture on Friday, November 9, 2018.

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    Brigitte Amiri '99
    Deputy Director, Reproductive Freedom Project, American Civil Liberties Union

    AmiriBrigitte Amiri is a deputy director at the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project. Over the past year, she’s been at the center of a national, high-profile lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s policy of preventing young immigrant women from having abortions. In 2017, Amiri successfully argued on behalf of a 17-year-old woman, Jane Doe, who was able to get abortion care after an appeals court in Washington, DC, issued a decision that cleared the way. The fight continues with a class action case against the US Department of Health and Human Services so that all Jane Does would have this same right.

    In addition, Amiri went to trial in Kentucky last fall to keep the state’s last clinic open after the governor threatened to shut it down over deficiencies in its hospital transfer agreement. Amiri is also litigating other cases, including a challenge to a South Dakota law that requires women seeking abortion to first visit a crisis pregnancy center before obtaining an abortion, a restriction on Medicaid funding for abortion in Alaska, and a novel case against one of the largest Catholic hospital systems over its ban on tubal sterilizations. She is also challenging the Trump administration’s roll back of the contraception coverage benefit of the ACA. She was heavily involved in helping to defend the benefit during the last administration, including co-cordinating the amicus briefs in both of the related Supreme Court cases. Before joining the ACLU, she worked as an attorney at South Brooklyn Legal Services in the Foreclosure Prevention Project and at the Center for Reproductive Rights.

  • Monday, October 30, 2017 | 12:00 - 1:30 PM | 250 Dockser Hall

    Making Good Health Policy by Practicing Good Health Law

    Stephen Rosenfeld, Health Care Attorney and Advocate

    Stephen Rosenfeld, health care attorney and advocate, delivered the Center for Health Policy and Law’s annual health law lecture on Monday, October 30, 2017. Rosenfeld has a rich history advocating for health care consumers in Massachusetts and beyond. Rosenfeld is a founder of Health Law Advocates (HLA), a nonprofit public interest law firm dedicated to gaining access to health care for vulnerable populations in Massachusetts. He has served in numerous positions within HLA and its sister organizations, including as volunteer legal director of HLA, acting president and a board member for Health Care for All (HCFA), and senior legal advisor and board member for Community Catalyst. Rosenfeld has also served on the boards of Massachusetts Advocates for Children and Commonwealth Care Alliance.

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  • Monday, October 31, 2016 | 12:00 - 1:30 PM | 240 Dockser

    Public Health 3.0: Upgrading Public Health in Boston

    Monica Valdes Lupi, Executive Director, Boston Public Health Commission

    Monica Valdes Lupi, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), delivered the Center for Health Policy and Law's annual lecture on Monday, October 31, 2016. She spoke about the strategic priorities of her office, including treating and preventing prescription drug abuse; strengthening partnerships with the health care community; and advancing health equity.

    Valdes Lupi manages a $162 million budget and leads 1,100 employees. In addition to operating a broad range of public health programs, the BPHC includes Boston Emergency Medical Services, school-based health centers, several substance abuse treatment facilities and the largest homeless services program in New England. Valdes Lupi serves as the key advisor to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh on health issues and continues to build innovative partnerships across city agencies to leverage strategic opportunities for housing, economic development, transportation, education and environmental policies to positively impact the health of all Boston residents.

    In September 2016, Valdes Lupi was appointed an affiliated professor of the practice in Northeastern University’s Bouvé College of Health Sciences’ Department of Health Sciences and Northeastern University School of Law.

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    To participate in Twitter conversations around this year's health lecture in Health Policy and Law, please add the hashtag #PublicHealthBoston to your tweets.

  • Monday, October 26, 2015 | 12:00 - 1:30 PM | 250 Dockser Hall


    Michele Bratcher Goodwin
    Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy
    University of California, Irvine

    Michele Goodwin Michele Bratcher Goodwin is a leading voice on organ transplant policy in the United States. Through her books, scholarship in leading journals and articles in major media outlets, she has helped define new ways of thinking about supply, demand and access to sophisticated medical technologies. At the University of California, Irvine, she researches and teaches in the areas of biotechnology, bioethics and identity, with a focus on the role of law in the promotion and regulation of medicine, science and biotechnology.

    Professor Goodwin is the author/editor of Black Markets: The Supply and Demand of Human Body Parts; Baby Markets; The Black Body: Reading, (Re)Writing, and (Re) Imagining; Biotechnology and Bioethics; and Altruism's. Her editorials and commentaries have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times,The Christian Science Monitor, The Washington Post, Forbes Magazine and other major media outlets.

    In addition to serving as Chancellor's Professor of Law at the University of California, Irvine, she is founder and director of its Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy, and holds appointments with its School of Public Health and Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies. She is president of Defense for Children International's US affiliate, and founder of the Institute for Global Child Advocacy.

    Sponsored by Northeastern University School of Law and its Program on Health Policy and Law