Faculty Directory

Leo Beletsky

Professor of Law and Health Sciences and Faculty Director, Health in Justice Action Lab

Vassar College, AB 2000
Brown University, MPH 2004
Temple University, JD 2008

Professor Beletsky holds an interdisciplinary appointment with the School of Law and Bouvé College of Health Sciences. His expertise is in the public health impact of laws and their enforcement, with special focus on infectious disease, substance use and addiction, occupational safety of first responders, and policing as a structural determinant of health. His current scholarship examines municipal budgetary priorities; the role of police in COVID-19 response; the compounding of the overdose crisis by the global coronavirus pandemic; and how public health policies shape individual liberties, especially in marginalized communities. Professor Beletsky is a frequent media commentator on public health law and policy, health equity and policing. Those issues define the project portfolio of the School of Law’s Health in Justice Action Lab, which he founded and now directs.

True to Northeastern’s social justice ethos, Professor Beletsky actively contributes his skills and expertise in service to governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations. Most recently, this has included The Global Fund, The Pew Charitable Trusts and two Massachusetts state commissions. His research and service have received broad recognition at international, national and local levels, including 2019 awards from the International AIDS Society, the Association of American Law Schools and the First Church of Cambridge. Prior to joining the Northeastern community, Professor Beletsky was a member of the faculty of the Division of Infectious Disease and Global Public Health at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, where he retains an adjunct appointment. He received his undergraduate training in Geography from Vassar College and Oxford University, a master’s in public health from Brown University, his law degree from Temple University School of Law and his post-doctoral training at the Yale University Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS. He is a member of the New York State Bar and a dad to two bandits.

Fields of Expertise

  • Comparative Law
  • Criminal Justice Policy and Practice
  • Drug Law and Policy
  • Empirical Methods
  • Global Health
  • Health Disparities
  • Human Rights
  • Infectious Disease Prevention and Response
  • Occupational Safety and Health
  • Public Health Law and Policy

Selected Works