3 Reasons Anyone Interested in Health Law Should Join Our Summer Programs

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City skyline silhouette

There are many reasons to consider joining us for this year’s O’Neill Institute Summer Programs. Here are three:

1) Our topics are highly relevant to legal practitioners, policy-makers, and scholars, alike: Emerging Issues in Food and Drug Law (July 14-18) and US Health Reform – The Affordable Care Act (July 21-25). Our unique programs are structured to give you both depth and breadth in these topics in an efficient five-day format.

2) Jobs in both Food & Drug Law and Healthcare Law are on the rise. Look no further than articles like those featured in the Wall Street Journal, for some external market validation.

3) The O’Neill Institute is preeminent in Global Health Law, drawing leading experts from around the world. If you are going to invest in your professional development, why not do so by learning among and from the best?

If you are reading this blog post, it is highly likely that you already have a strong interest in public health, global health, health law and/or health policy. Consider getting deeper into these critically important issues by joining us this summer.

The O’Neill Institute Team is standing by and happy to answer any questions you might have.


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New Certificates in Food and Drug Law and U.S. Health Law!

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Starting in Fall 2014 Georgetown Law will offer two new certificate programs in Food and Drug Law and U.S. Health Law.   The Certificate in Food and Drug Law or the Certificate in U.S. Health Law may be completed as a stand-alone program or in conjunction with an LL.M. in Global Health Law or the General LL.M. degree program. For more information and to apply, please visit the Goergetown Law website here.

Read More

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The 2014 World Cup: Scoring a goal for public health?

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Beginning today, Brazil will play host to the world’s most-watched sporting event, the football World Cup. 3.7 million Brazilian and foreign tourists are expected to travel throughout Brazil during the World Cup, and nearly half the world’s population is anticipated to tune in for the tournament. Some effects are intuitive: worker productivity plummets, while hungry (and thirsty) viewers consume more snacks and TV dinners. Less well explored are the World Cup’s public health impacts. This post summarizes some of the more significant public health issues posed by the Beautiful Game’s most important event.

1. Violence

 The emotional toll of a favorite team’s loss could be expected to lead to an uptick in violent crime. However, a British case study found that levels of domestic violence increased following both losses and wins. Similar results occur in relation to violent crime outside the home, with hooliganism and post-match violence taking place regardless of who wins the match. Violence at the 2014 World Cup could be exacerbated by FIFA’s insistence that beer “must be sold” in stadiums, forcing Brazil to overturn a 2003 liquor-free stadium law designed to promote public safety. (See below for John Oliver’s entertaining discussion of this issue, and others). Read More

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7 things YOU can and SHOULD do to stop the spread of antibiotic resistant superbugs

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 flemingThe time may come when penicillin can be bought by anyone in the shops. Then there is the danger that the ignorant man may easily underdose himself and by exposing his microbes to non-lethal quantities of the drug make them resistant. Here is a hypothetical illustration. Mr. X. has a sore throat. He buys some penicillin and gives himself, not enough to kill the streptococci but enough to educate them to resist penicillin. He then infects his wife. Mrs. X gets pneumonia and is treated with penicillin. As the streptococci are now resistant to penicillin the treatment fails. Mrs. X dies. Who is primarily responsible for Mrs. X’s death? Why Mr. X whose negligent use of penicillin changed the nature of the microbe. Moral: If you use penicillin, use enough.

-Alexander Fleming,  Penicillin, Nobel Lecture, December 11, 1945

Dr. Fleming warned about the consequence of misusing antibiotics 70 years ago. Today, his caution is our reality. Misuse of antibiotics has led to a new era of antimicrobial resistance, causing panic among public health officials worldwide. The World Health Organization’s Antimicrobial Resistance Global Report on Surveillance warns that without drugs to treat virulent infections, we may be entering a post-antibiotic era where people die from something as simple as an infected scrape. Read More

Posted in FDA, Global Health, WHO; Tagged: , , , , .


Global Health and Human Rights Database Webinar Hosted by the World Bank Institute

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The Global Health and Human Rights Database is a free online database of law from around the world relating to health and human rights. With the collaboration of a worldwide network of partners—including NGOs, academics and private researchers—the database offers an interactive, searchable, and fully indexed website of case law, national constitutions and international instruments.

The Lawyers Collective and the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University invite you to participate in a SaluDerecho webinar that will introduce participants to the database and highlight its main features. Please note that registration is required.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014 9:00:00 AM EDT – 10:00:00 AM EDT (In English, Lawrence O. Gostin and Ana S. Ayala)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014 11:00:00 AM EDT – 12:00:00 PM EDT (In Spanish, Oscar A. Cabrera)

About the speakers:

Lawrence GostinLawrence O. Gostin, an internationally acclaimed scholar, is University Professor, Georgetown University’s highest academic rank conferred by the University President. Prof. Gostin directs the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law and was the Founding O’Neill Chair in Global Health Law. He served as Associate Dean for Research at Georgetown Law from 2004 to 2008. He is Professor of Medicine at Georgetown University, Professor of Public Health at the Johns Hopkins University, and Director of the Center for Law & the Public’s Health at Johns Hopkins and Georgetown Universities.


smallAna S. Ayala is an Institute Associate at O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Georgetown University. Since 2010, Ana has worked in projects on a number of areas of global health law, including health and human rights, global tobacco-control litigation, sexual and reproductive health, patients’ rights, and the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Health Regulations (2005). For the past four years, Ana has been in charge of managing the database project and leading the Institute’s work in developing international partnerships for the project.

She holds a Master of Laws in Global Health Law from Georgetown University; a law degree from American University, Washington College of Law; and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology and International Studies from the University of Chicago.


small12Oscar A. Cabrera is the Executive Director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law and a Visiting Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center. Previously, Oscar has served as the Deputy Director, Senior Fellow, and a Law Fellow. He is a foreign-trained attorney who earned his law degree in his home country of Venezuela, and his Master of Laws (LL.M.), with concentration in Health Law and Policy, at the University of Toronto. Before starting his Masters Degree program, Oscar worked as an Associate at a Venezuelan law firm (d’Empaire Reyna Bermúdez).


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Bolivian Zebras for Road Safety: Saving Lives One Stripe at a Time

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Early one morning, as I walked the streets of La Paz, Bolivia, last week, I was pleasantly surprised when I ran into a pack of zebras crossing the street right in front of me. Zebras in Bolivia, you say? Well, not quite. As in turns out, what are known as Las Cebras de La Paz (“The Zebras of Peace”, a play on words that can also mean “The Zebras of La Paz”) is the city’s initiative to raise public awareness on road safety. The aim is to change both driver and pedestrian behavior and encouraging both groups to obey traffic signs. (Pedestrian crossings in Bolivia are known as “pasos de cebra” (zebra crossings), hence the name “Las Cebras”).

The initiative was launched in 2001, when 24 young people dressed in zebra costumes went out to the streets to inform the public about the city’s new Plan for Traffic, Transportation and Roadways. There are now well over 250 zebras and the initiative keeps growing as it attracts more young people to take part in this educational program.

Anyone that has visited La Paz will agree that traffic signs and rules are hardly respected, especially now that the black market has brought in stolen vehicles from outside sold at very cheap prices to Bolivians. Auto pedestrians accidents are not uncommon, so much so that travel sites feel the need to alert potential visitors of this “danger.” According to a 2013 World Health Organization report on road safety, Bolivia experiences 12 deaths per 100,000 population, and 36% of traffic-related deaths involve pedestrians. In a scale of 1 to 10, the effectiveness of speed and law enforcement has been given a 2. Read More

Posted in Global Health; Tagged: , , , , , , , , , .


Public health in the digital era part 1: the top 10 health blogs you should be reading

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got public health

Image from: http://hellyeahpublichealth.tumblr.com/post/5341331469/got-public-health

The internet is a double-edged sword.  We have access to a world of information, but we’re overwhelmed by news reports, policy developments, and new scientific research.  Reading high-quality blogs is one way of staying on top of recent issues in public health. Here I present ten of the best health blogs, drawn from recommendations from colleagues, my own personal favorites, and a completely unscientific survey of the internet.  Part 2 of this series features the top ten digital tools that public health researchers should be using.

  1. The Pump Handle

Self-described as a ‘water cooler for the public health crowd,’ with a name based on one of the most famous public health interventions.  The Pump Handle focuses on environmental and occupational health, but includes posts on vaccination, pandemic preparedness, and antibiotic resistance.

Ryan Gosling pump

Check out the public health Ryan Gosling tumblr

  1. Health Blawg

David Harlow is a health care lawyer and consultant with over 25 years of public and private sector experience. On the Health Blawg he writes about legal, policy and business issues facing the health care community, with a focus on health IT, health care data and privacy concerns.

  1. Trade, Investment & Health

If you’re anything like me, learning about trade law brings on intense headaches, confusion and uncontrollable crying. Fortunately, Benn McGrady brings a depth of knowledge to the field that most health researchers can only dream of. Benn posts on international trade law and its intersection with public health – particularly in relation to food, alcohol and tobacco regulation. Best of all, he’s based at the O’Neill Institute.

  1. The Lancet’s Global Health Blog

These, days, most of the heavy-hitting journals have blogs, and The Lancet is no exception.  Its Global health Blog reports on access to medicines, chronic and infectious disease control, reproductive and maternal health, climate change, and other diverse international health issues.

  1. Sarah Boseley’s Global Health Blog

Sarah Boseley’s Global Health Blog proved popular with O’Neill Institute members when I asked for their favorite reads. Boseley is an award-winning health editor at The Guardian, and her blog focuses on global health governance (including the work of the WHO, the WTO, and the Global Fund), infectious disease control, and issues in women’s and children’s health.

  1. Food Politics

Marion Nestle is a leading academic and nutrition activist. If there are any recent developments in food, nutrition or agricultural policy, then you can guarantee she’s posted on it – probably on the same day.

food politics

  1. Health Law Professors’ Blog

Law professors post on ACA implementation, privacy, health and human rights, food and drug law, and a broad range of other health law topics. HealthLawProf also posts lists of recently published articles and events of interest to health lawyers.

  1. Well

Intended for a general audience, The New York Times’ Well Blog contains a mix of easily-digestible reports on scientific studies, healthy recipes, and information about health, illness, treatment and exercise.

  1. Not in my Food

A team of food safety advocates runs the Consumers Union blog on the sustainability, safety and healthiness of the food supply. Recent posts focus on GMOs, food labelling and the use of antibiotics in raising farm animals.

10. Science-Based Medicine

Science-Based Medicine uses scientific evidence to deflate health myths and quackery, tackling issues like childhood vaccines, health supplements, and faith healing.

Honourable mentions

Impatient Optimists

Impatient Optimists reports on the work of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s grantees, partners, leadership and staff. It also features stories on areas of interest to the Foundation, including vaccines, poverty, polio eradication and family planning.

Public Health Matters

The CDC’s blog on public health emergencies and pandemic preparedness. Of note: it contains an entire section on zombies.

zombie health care

More on food

Eat Drink Politics

Michele Simon brings her passion and expertise as a public health attorney to the fight against Big Food and Big Booze.

Civil eats

Over 100 contributors make daily posts on news related to the American food system, with the aim of building a more sustainable and equitable food environment.


Health News Watchdog

Health News Watchdog aims to improve public dialogue about health care by taking a critical view of health care journalism, advertising, marketing, public relations and other messaging that influences consumers.

The Hill

The Hill’s healthcare division is regularly updated with news on health care policy, research, funding and legislation. In May Dr Phil testified before Congress about the over-prescription of psychotropic drugs to children – who knew?

Dr Phil

Health Wonk Review

A biweekly compendium of recent blog postings on health policy, infrastructure, insurance, technology and managed care.  Don’t’ just read it – become a contributor and share ideas and network with others in the field.

From the journals


Prominent researchers post on health policy, infectious diseases, public health, quality of care and global health. In March the O’Neill Institute’s own Larry Gostin wrote on reductions in the rate of childhood obesity in the US.

Health Affairs

Health Affairs’ blog covers issues in domestic health policy and events hosted by the journal. It also has an excellent blogroll.

Global Health Governance

GHG’s blog covers a broad range of global health issues, including bioterrorism, emerging infectious diseases, universal health care, and health and human rights.

Wildcard entries


Groundup is a South African community journalism project. Its health section publishes stories of poorer South Africans’ experiences of the health care system, and the social determinants of health, with a focus on HIV, TB, sanitation, education, and women’s and immigrants’ rights.

Healthy Travel Blog

The perfect travel blog for the health fanatic in your life, with recommendations for fitness-based holidays, healthy travel snacks and international recipes.

And finally…

I’d love to hear your recommendations for great blogs on public health, health care and health law. Id’ welcome any suggestions in the comments section below.

Happy reading!

public health save the world




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A massacre, health, democracy, and the unity of rights

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Today is the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. How many hundreds or thousands died at Tiananmen Square, surrounding areas, and other cities in China? It is said we will never know. But I think we can say this: The number of people the Chinese government killed the night of June 3 through June 4, and next few days outside Beijing, may well be far more than whatever estimates you will hear.

Why? When the army fired upon those who stood firm for their rights, it hit not only those brave protesters, but also a movement for greater freedom and democracy. Had this movement not suffered that crippling blow from which it is yet to recover, China might well have gone on a different course. It may have been a course that went beyond carefully easing some restrictions and yes, in many realms allowing greater, even far greater, freedom than in years past.

What might a more democratic China have meant for health?

We can only speculate. But it is an important lesson in the unity of rights, how the brutal suppression of civil and political rights harms the right to health as well. And I hope this perspective will serve as further tribute to those who died 25 years ago and to their ideals, with the hope and belief that in this struggle that still lives on, these ideals will yet be realized.

China’s health gains over the past several decades, as economic development boosted living standards and lifted people from poverty, have been quite impressive. Recent social insurance reforms, from health care to pensions, are in the right direction. But consider…. Read More

Posted in Global Health, Human Rights;


Greg Martin Interviews Lawrence Gostin on Global Health Law

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Don’t miss the below video featuring Professor Lawrence Gostin as he discusses his new book, global health law, and career opportunities for new professionals in the field with Dr. Greg Martin.  Dr. Martin is the Director of Elimination of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV at the Clinton Health Access Initiative and Editor-in-Chief of Globalization and Health.

Professor Lawrence O. Gostin is the Faculty Director of the O’Neill Institute and holds the Founding O’Neill Chair in Global Health Law.  For more information about Professor Gostin, please click here.

This video can also be found here.

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You’re Invited – O’Neill Institute Summer Programs 2014!

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The O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University invites you to our 2014 Summer Programs. Now in our third year, we are excited to present two programs this summer: (1) Emerging Issues in Food and Drug Law and (2) US Health Reform – The Affordable Care Act.

The Summer Programs convene leading practitioners, policymakers, advocates and academics in food and drug law and US healthcare reform for a series of interactive lectures, panel discussions, and case studies. Held during consecutive weeks, July 14-18 (Emerging Issues in Food and Drug Law) and July 21-25 (US Health Reform – The Affordable Care Act), interested participants may attend one or both programs. Invited speakers include current and former officials from HHS, the FDA, the FTC, the EPA, as well as former U.S. Congressional staff involved in the adoption and implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

July 14-18: O’Neill Institute Summer Program on Emerging Issues in Food and Drug Law

Featuring FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, MD

Planned Topics:
•US Food and Drug Administration Decision-Making
•Changing Nature of Food and Drug Supply Chains
•Food Safety Modernization Act
•Comparative Approaches of US and EU Drug Regulatory Authorities
•Regulatory Harmonization
•Substandard and Counterfeit Medicines

July 21-25: O’Neill Institute Summer Program on US Health Reform – The Affordable Care Act

Planned Topics:
•Access to Health Care and Coverage: Law and Policy
•Implementing the Affordable Care Act and Other Federal Regulatory Changes
•Comparative Analyses of State Insurance Exchanges
•Potential and Upcoming Legal Challenges to the Affordable Care Act

The Summer Programs are open to all, including relevant practitioners, policymakers, regulators, academics, and students.

Additional details for the summer programs, including schedule, speakers, online application, and program fees will be available shortly. Questions may be directed to oneillinstitute@law.georgetown.edu.


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The views reflected in this blog are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent those of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law or Georgetown University. This blog is solely informational in nature, and not intended as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed and retained attorney in your state or country.

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