New Website: The Football Players Health Study at Harvard University

FPHS Logo

We are pleased to announce that a new website has been launched for The Football Players Health Study at Harvard University. Take a look to learn more about the project, the study team, and what we have in store with the goal of improving the health and wellbeing of professional football players. You can also find out more about the Petrie-Flom Center’s involvement, and in particular our Law and Ethics Initiative, here

Upcoming Event: Law and Ethics of Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing

DNA_3helixesThe Law and Ethics of Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing

November 6, 2014 12:00 PM

Harvard Law School
Wasserstein Hall, Room 3018
Cambridge, MA 02138 [Map]

See the list of panelists here.

The Petrie-Flom Center will host a discussion of the issues surrounding noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT), a screening method for detecting certain specific chromosomal abnormalities, as well as sex, in utero.  NIPT may help mothers avoid other tests that could put their pregnancies at risk, but the ability to detect substantial information about a developing fetus with such ease raises a wide range of important ethical and legal issues.  Our discussion will cover background on the technology, what makes NIPT unique, issues with global dissemination, eugenic implications, and informed consent issues.

This event is supported by the Oswald DeN. Cammann Fund.

Upcoming Event: Global Reproduction

pregnant_bellyGlobal Reproduction: Health, Law, and Human Rights in Surrogacy and Egg Donation
November 5, 2014, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Wasserstein Hall, Room 1010, Harvard Law School

Please join us for a screening of the documentary Can We See the Baby Bump, Please?, followed by a panel discussion of the legal and human rights issues surrounding surrogacy and egg donation in a global context.

The film screening will begin at 5PM; the panel discussion will begin at 6PM.  Feel free to join for one or both segments. The panelists are:

We encourage attendees to read Risk Disclosure and the Recruitment of Oocyte Donors: Are Advertisers Telling the Full Story? prior to the event.

Co-sponsored by Our Bodies, Ourselves and the South Asia Institute at Harvard University, with support by the Oswald DeN. Cammann Fund.

This Friday: Transparency in the Global Food System

groceries_aisleTransparency in the Global Food System: How Much Information and to What Ends?

October 24-25, 2014

UCLA Faculty Center
480 Charles Young Drive
Los Angeles, CA

Every day brings increasing media coverage, intensified citizen concern and political focus to the problems of our food system, accompanied by a building consensus on the need to address the known challenges.  But, the factors shaping our current food system and their implications are often opaque and difficult to analyze, due to both the complexity and lack of transparency in our system. This conference will examine these issues: the meaning of transparency in food law and policy, how consumers use and misuse information about the food system, and the limits of information as a policy tool.

Dr. David A. Kessler, former Commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration and currently a Professor at the University of California, San Francisco Medical School, will deliver the conference keynote address on October 24th. In addition, as part of UCLA Food Day events, a screening and panel discussion of the documentary Food Chains will be held in the evening following the conference.  Closing the event, an academic workshop will be held on Saturday, October 25th to discuss the future of food law teaching and scholarship.

For the full conference agenda and registration, click here Continue reading

Tomorrow: “Human Subjects Research Regulation” Book Launch

Human_Subjects_Research_slideBook Launch: “Human Subjects Research Regulation: Perspectives on the Future”

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Harvard Law School Library, Langdell Hall 4th Floor, Caspersen Room, 1557 Massachusetts Ave.

This event is free and open to the public. Lunch will be served. For a list of our panelists, please visit our website.

MIT Press recently published Human Subjects Research Regulation: Perspectives on the Future (2014), co-edited by Petrie-Flom Center Faculty Director, I. Glenn Cohen, and Executive Director, Holly Fernandez Lynch. This edited volume stems from the Center’s 2012 annual conference, which brought together leading experts in a conversation about whether and how the current system of human subjects research regulation in the U.S. ought to change to fit evolving trends, fill substantial gaps, and respond to identified shortcomings.

Please join us for a discussion of the book, pending efforts to amend federal research regulations, and some of the biggest unresolved questions in this space.

This event is co-sponsored with the Harvard Law School Library

Introducing Martín Hevia

Profile-HeviaWe are pleased to introduce our newest contributor, Martín Hevia, to Bill of Health.

Martín (SJD, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto; Abogado, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, Argentina) is the Executive Dean and Director of the Law Programme (J.D. Equivalent) at the School of Law of the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella (Buenos Aires, Argentina), where he is an Associate Professor of Law. His research and teaching interests include comparative constitutional and private law; health law and reproductive rights; and legal theory and political philosophy.

Professor Hevia has acted as a legal consultant to the Argentine National Congress on the reform, actualization, and unification of the Argentine Civil and Commercial Codes, and as an Expert for the World Health Organization Public Health Law Consultation Group. He was Co Editor-In-Chief of the Journal of Law & Equality (2004-2006) and Editor-In-Chief of Revista Argentina de Teoría Jurídica (1999-2000). He has also served as a Global Fellow at the International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Programme, University of Toronto (2009) and Fellow in Comparative Law and Political Economy at Osgoode Hall, York University (2008).

At the University of Toronto, he was awarded the Alan Marks Medal to the Best Graduate Thesis of 2006-2007, the 2007 Gordon Cressy Student Leadership Award for extraordinary extra-curricular contributions to university life and was President of the Graduate Law Students’ Association.

Representative Publications:  Continue reading

Is Corruption Partly Responsible for the Ebola Crisis?

Guest post by Matthew Stephenson
[Cross-posted from The Global Anticorruption Blog.]

There’s been an interesting mini-debate over at the FCPA Blog about whether, or to what extent, corruption is partly responsible for the severity of the Ebola crisis in West Africa. Richard Cassin, the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog, argued that it is. He made this argument initially in a post from this past August entitled “Ebola tragedy is also a story of graft.” He offered as evidence the following observations: (1) the WHO and other observers estimate that a very high percentage–perhaps up to 25%–of global spending on public health is lost to corruption; (2) the very high Ebola fatality rates in West Africa have been attributed in part to the lack of adequate intensive care facilities to administer the treatments; and (3) the countries hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak–Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria–are reputed to be highly corrupt, as indicated by their very poor scores on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index.

Many critics who commented on Cassin’s initial post complained that the evidence offered did not in fact support the strong claim in the title that corruption has contributed significantly to the Ebola outbreak. In particular, the critics pointed out that: (1) the fact that a great deal of public health spendinggenerally is lost to corruption does not actually tell us whether corruption was a major factor in the particular case of the Ebola outbreak, and (2) the low ranking of the affected countries on the CPI likewise–even if we concede that the CPI is a decent measure of actual corruption–does not indicate that corruption caused (in any significant way) the Ebola outbreak to be as lethal as it has been; at most it shows a correlation that might be explained by any number of other factors.

Cassin responded with a second post last month in which he rebutted the critics. He acknowledged that while one can never establish with “scientific certainty” that corruption has a causal effect on the severity of the Ebola outbreak, there is powerful circumstantial evidence that corruption is a “gateway” to this and other public health crises (as well as other problems like terrorism and crime), because it siphons off public resources. Cassin cites to a couple of research papers that purport to show that corruption in general has adverse impacts on public health, in particular because it adversely affects access to clean water and sanitation.

Continue reading

Tomorrow: A Conversation with Jim Doyle

A Conversation with Jim Doyle
October 15, 2014 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Wasserstein Hall, Room 1019, 1585 Massachusetts Ave.

JimDoyleJoin the Harvard Health Law Society for a lunch talk with former Attorney General and Governor of Wisconsin Jim Doyle. Come hear about the former governor’s experiences tackling public health issues through state politics and join us for a Q&A session about health policy, health law careers, and politics. Governor Jim Doyle served as the 44th governor of Wisconsin and is recognized as a national leader in health care, energy, biotechnology, and many other areas. He has worked closely with the White House, high-ranking officials, and other governors. He currently serves as counsel for Foley & Lardner and is teaching a class at the Harvard School of Public Health this fall entitled “Health Policy, Leadership, and Politics at the State.”

Co-sponsored by the Center for Health Law Policy and Innovation and the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics.

Upcoming Event: Transparency in the Global Food System

groceries_aisleTransparency in the Global Food System: How Much Information and to What Ends?

October 24-25, 2014

UCLA Faculty Center
480 Charles Young Drive
Los Angeles, CA

Every day brings increasing media coverage, intensified citizen concern and political focus to the problems of our food system, accompanied by a building consensus on the need to address the known challenges.  But, the factors shaping our current food system and their implications are often opaque and difficult to analyze, due to both the complexity and lack of transparency in our system. This conference will examine these issues: the meaning of transparency in food law and policy, how consumers use and misuse information about the food system, and the limits of information as a policy tool.

Dr. David A. Kessler, former Commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration and currently a Professor at the University of California, San Francisco Medical School, will deliver the conference keynote address on October 24th. In addition, as part of UCLA Food Day events, a screening and panel discussion of the documentary Food Chains will be held in the evening following the conference.  Closing the event, an academic workshop will be held on Saturday, October 25th to discuss the future of food law teaching and scholarship.

For the full conference agenda and registration, click here Continue reading

10/22/14: Screening of Fed Up

Poster-FedUpScreening of Fed Up [Poster]
Wednesday, October 22, 2014 4:30 – 6:30 PM
Harvard Law School, Ames Courtroom

Documentary Synopsis:
Everything we’ve been told about food and exercise for the past 30 years is dead wrong. Fed Up is the film the food industry doesn’t want you to see. From Katie Couric, Laurie David (Oscar winning producer of An Inconvenient Truth) and director Stephanie Soechtig, Fed Up will change the way you eat forever.

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with panelists Laurie David (Fed Up producer), Jacob Gersen (Harvard Law School), and Eric Rimm (Harvard School of Public Health), moderated by Jeannie Suk (Harvard Law School).

Sponsored by the Food Law Lab at Petrie-Flom, Harvard School of Public Health, Food Law Society, Harvard Law Documentary Studio, and the Food Law & Policy Clinic. 

NAS on Eyewitness Identification

By David Korn

The National Academies of Sciences (NAS) has just released a new report, “Identifying the Culprit: Assessing Eye Witness Identification,” prepared by a study committee equally composed of scientists and lawyers, including prosecutors and defense attorneys, and co-chaired by federal judge Jed Rakoff. The report critically examines the current status of fundamental vision research into the processes of visual memory formation, storage and recall.  The committee also reviewed the current status of applied research in suspect identification techniques, pointing out that “the jury is still out” on the relative advantages and disadvantages of simultaneous vs sequential line ups and presentations of photo arrays of suspects to eye witnesses.

The central finding, supported by an abundance of robust research, is the fragility and malleability of visual memory formation, storage and retrieval, and the susceptibility of visual memory, at every step in the process,  to suggestion.  Visual memories of incidents are in no way like photographs that accurately record whatever is in the focus of the lens and then store those photographs permanently without alteration.  The report urges that police officers and judges alike recognize these frailties and establish procedures for police officers at the scene of the crime and in administering lineups or photo arrays, that would minimize corruption of the visual formation, storage, and recollection of memories by eyewitnesses.   The report urges that states develop uniform guidance for jurists regarding the conduct of pre-trial inquiries into the quality and credibility of eyewitness testimony, as well as judicial instructions to jurors in interpreting and evaluating eyewitness testimony.  This is an excellent report that deserves your awareness and attention.

10/22/14: “Human Subjects Research Regulation” Book Launch

Human_Subjects_Research_slideBook Launch: “Human Subjects Research Regulation: Perspectives on the Future”

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Harvard Law School Library Langdell Hall 4th Floor, Caspersen Room, 1557 Massachusetts Ave.

This event is free and open to the public. Lunch will be served. For a list of our panelists, please visit our website.

MIT Press recently published Human Subjects Research Regulation: Perspectives on the Future (2014), co-edited by Petrie-Flom Center Faculty Director, I. Glenn Cohen, and Executive Director, Holly Fernandez Lynch. This edited volume stems from the Center’s 2012 annual conference, which brought together leading experts in a conversation about whether and how the current system of human subjects research regulation in the U.S. ought to change to fit evolving trends, fill substantial gaps, and respond to identified shortcomings.

Please join us for a discussion of the book, pending efforts to amend federal research regulations, and some of the biggest unresolved questions in this space.

This event is co-sponsored with the Harvard Law School Library

Dov Fox on Racial Sorting in Family Formation

Check out Dov Fox‘s new op-ed on racial sorting in family formation over at Huffington Post: Reproducing Race.

The piece was prompted by this week’s news of the white lesbian mother who sued a sperm bank for mixing up the sample she ordered with that from a black donor. The impulse to call one’s mixed-race child a “wrongful birth” gives reason, Dov argues, to rethink the racial preferences that we tend to accept without question; race-matching should be resisted for expressing the divisive notion that single-race families should be preferred to multiracial ones and that families should be set apart by race.

Upcoming Event: Emerging Issues and New Frontiers in FDA Regulation

lab_colored_beakers_slideEmerging Issues and New Frontiers for FDA Regulation

October 20, 2014 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Alston & Bird, The Atlantic Building, 950 F Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004-1404

Registration is now open online. A limited number of free seats are available to Harvard affiliates. For more information or to request a seat, please email us at petrie-flom@law.harvard.edu by October 7th.

Please join the Food and Drug Law Institute and the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School for an academic symposium on cutting-edge legal and regulatory issues facing FDA.  Leading academics will present papers on mobile health, stem cells, personalized medicine, and other novel medical product issues, as well as food regulation.  Papers will be available to registered attendees in advance, and will be published in an upcoming issue of the Food and Drug Law Journal.

Continue reading

Tomorrow: Legal and Ethical Issues in Healthcare Start-Ups

vaccines_slideLegal and Ethical Issues in Healthcare Start-Ups

Monday, October 6, 2014 4:00 PM

Harvard Law School
LOCATION CHANGE: Wasserstein Hall, Milstein West AB
1585 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02138

The full list of panelists is available on our website here.

New healthcare start-ups face a range of legal and ethical challenges as they develop new products and services and solicit financial support from investors. Building on the success of the President’s Challenge at the Harvard Innovation Lab, which invites teams of Harvard students to develop innovative solutions to a range of global issues including healthcare accessibility and affordability, the Petrie-Flom Center will host a discussion of the issues that past winners of the President’s Challenge have faced as they seek to move their ideas out of the lab and into the private sector.

The panel discussion will be followed by the Petrie-Flom Center’s Annual Open House reception. Join us to learn more about our work!

This event is supported by the Oswald DeN. Cammann Fund.

Tomorrow: Petrie-Flom Center Annual Open House

PFC_Logo_300x300Petrie-Flom Center Annual Open House

October 6, 2014, 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM

Harvard Law School
LOCATION CHANGE: Wasserstein Hall, Milstein West AB
1585 Massachusetts Ave, 2nd Floor, Cambridge, MA [Map]

Come learn more about what the Petrie-Flom Center does and how you can get involved at this gathering for faculty, colleagues, and students with shared interests in health law policy, biotechnology, and bioethics.  We will review our sponsored research portfolio, introduce our staff and fellows, describe various opportunities for students and others, and demonstrate key features on our website.  And of course, we’ll eat, drink, and be merry.  Hope to see you there!

The Open House reception will immediately follow the Legal and Ethical Issues in Healthcare Start-Ups Panel.