About Us

Lawrence Gostin

Lawrence 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.

Prof. Gostin holds a number of international academic professorial appointments. He is Visiting Professor (Faculty of Medical Sciences) and Research Fellow (Centre for Socio-Legal Studies) at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom. Prof. Gostin is the Claude Leon Foundation Distinguished Scholar and Visiting Professor at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. He serves on the Governing Board of Directors of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health.

Prof. Gostin is the Director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center on Public Health Law and Human Rights. He also serves on the WHO Director-General's Advisory Committee on Reforming the World Health Organization. In 2007, the WHO Director-General appointed Prof. Gostin to the International Health Regulations (IHR) Roster of Experts and the Expert Advisory Panel on Mental Health.

Prof. Gostin holds numerous editorial appointments in prestigious academic journals throughout the world. His principal position is the Health Law and Ethics Editor, Contributing Writer, and Columnist for the Journal of the American Medical Association. He is also Founding Editor-in-Chief of Laws (an international open access law journal).

Prof. Gostin holds three honorary degrees. In 1994, the Chancellor of the State University of New York conferred an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree. In 2006, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Vice Chancellor awarded Cardiff University's (Wales) highest honor, an Honorary Fellow. In 2007, the Royal Institute of Public Health designated Prof. Gostin as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Public Health (FRSPH).

Prof. Gostin, an elected lifetime Member of the Institute of Medicine/National Academy of Sciences, serves on the Board on Health Sciences Policy, the Human Subjects Review Board, and the Committee on Science, Technology, and Law. He currently chairs the IOM Committee on National Preparedness for Mass Disasters, and has chaired Committees on privacy, genomics, and prisoner research. The IOM awarded Prof. Gostin the Adam Yarmolinsky Medal for distinguished service to further its mission of science and health. He received the Public Health Law Association's Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award “in recognition of a career devoted to using law to improve the public's health” presented at the CDC.

Internationally, Prof. Gostin received the Rosemary Delbridge Memorial Award from the National Consumer Council (U.K.) for the person “who has most influenced Parliament and government to act for the welfare of society.” He also received the Key to Tohoko University (Japan) for distinguished contributions to human rights in mental health.

Prof. Gostin has led major law reform initiatives in the U.S., including the drafting of the Model Emergency Health Powers Act (MEHPA) to combat bioterrorism and the “Turning Point” Model State Public Health Act. He is also leading a drafting team on developing a Model Public Health Law for the World Health Organization.

Prof. Gostin is engaged in three major international initiatives on global health governance: (1) a “Framework Convention on Human Services” for the World Bank—a multilateral treaty on the health care professional capacity in poor and middle income countries; (2) a “Framework Convention on Global Health”—a multilateral treaty ensuring “basic survival needs” for the world's poor; and (3) a Global Plan for Justice—a global compact to fund essential medicines, basic survival needs, and climate change.

Prof. Gostin founded, together with academic and civil society partners from around the world, The Joint Learning Initiative on National and Global Responsibilities for Health (JALI). JALI – a global campaign for a Framework Convention on Global Health based on the human right to health – was featured in the World Health Report 2010. JALI convened global stakeholder meetings in Oslo, Berlin, Johannesburg, Delhi, and Bellagio.

In April 2011, the United Nations General Secretary, Ban Ki Moon, endorsed Prof. Gostin's foundational proposal for a global health treaty: “Countries must commit to global solidarity, built on the tenets of shared responsibility, true national ownership and mutual accountability. Let the AIDS response be a beacon of global solidarity for health as a human right and set the stage for a future United Nations Framework Convention on Global Health.”

In the United Kingdom, Lawrence Gostin was the Legal Director of the National Association for Mental Health, Director of the National Council of Civil Liberties (the UK equivalent of the ACLU), and a Fellow at Oxford University. He helped draft the current Mental Health Act (England and Wales) and brought several landmark cases before the European Court of Human Rights.

Prof. Gostin's latest books are: Public Health Law and Ethics: A Reader (University of California Press, 2nd ed., 2010); Public Health Law: Power, Duty, Restraint (University of California Press, 2nd ed. 2008); Principles of Mental Health Law & Practice (Oxford University Press, 2010). He is currently working on a book for Harvard University Press, entitled: Global Health Law: International Law, Global Institutions, and World Health.