The Public Health Advocacy Institute (PHAI) is a legal research center focused on public health law. Its goal is to support and enhance a commitment to public health in individuals and institutes who shape public policy through law. We are committed to research and advocacy in public health law, public health policy development, to legal technical assistance and to collaborative work at the intersection of law and public health. PHAI was founded by University Distinguished Professor Richard Daynard, a leading international expert on tobacco control and the obesity epidemic, who serves as its president. Its executive director is Mark A. Gottlieb ’93.
PHAI’s Center for Public Health Litigation is a nonprofit public interest law practice taking on industries such as tobacco, food and soda companies that maximize profits through corporate policies that contribute to cancer, obesity and other preventable chronic disease. The center, directed by attorney Andrew Rainer, is currently litigating a number of cases in Massachusetts and other jurisdictions.
PHAI’s Public Health and Tobacco Policy Center provides guidance on legally permissible, politically feasible evidence-based public health policy interventions that can broadly influence social norms and thereby drive behavior change. The center supports municipalities with effective policy development through social science and legal research, synthesis and analysis, model policy development and implementation guidance. The center, directed by Ilana M. Knopf, was founded in 2010 and joined PHAI in 2015.
PHAI has worked for more than 20 years with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s tobacco control program and has operated its Smokefree Housing Initiative for a decade. PHAI staff often publish scholarly research in leading public health and medical journals. Attorney Chris Banthin leads this work.
PHAI works closely with the School of Law’s dual JD/MPH program to provide educational opportunities to students interested in public health and the law. Students may take advanced courses at the law school and participate in the Public Health Legal Clinic, working closely with PHAI. PHAI also offers independent study opportunities, co-ops and Tufts ALE placement. There are a myriad of opportunities for students to participate in the work of PHAI on current and exciting developments in public health and law.