Professor Lawrence Gostin Honored for Lifetime Achievement in Public Health Law

November 9, 2015 —

Professor Lawrence Gostin Professor Lawrence Gostin

Professor Lawrence Gostin, the faculty director of the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown Law, was honored November 2 by the American Public Health Association (APHA) Law Section for “Lifetime Achievement in Public Health Law.” The award is given annually to an individual who has made significant contributions to the field of public health law over the course of his or her career.

“I cannot think of a more deserving individual to receive this award than Professor Larry Gostin,” said Georgetown Law Dean William M. Treanor. “Through the quality of his scholarship and teaching, his leadership of our O’Neill Institute and his dedication to the cause of national and global health law, he makes a difference every single day.”

Lainie Rutkow, chair of the APHA Law Section awards committee, noted that Gostin helped establish the field of public health law and has been at its forefront for many decades. “His career serves as an inspiration to the next generation of public health lawyers,” she said. 

Gostin, the first O'Neill Chair in Global Health Law, holds Georgetown University’s highest academic rank of University Professor. He is a professor of medicine at Georgetown’s School of Medicine and a professor of public health at Johns Hopkins University. A lifetime member of the National Academy of Medicine, he continues to lead major global health law reform initiatives and co-chairs the Lancet-O'Neill Institute Commission on Global Health and the Law. The commission aims to “make the case for the power of law to improve health while revealing current opportunities and challenges under the status quo.”

Gostin also serves on two global commissions to report on the lessons learned from the 2014 West Africa Ebola epidemic, the Global Commission on a Global Health Risk Framework (National Academy of Sciences) and the Independent Panel on the Global Response to Ebola (Harvard University/London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine). He is special adviser to the United Nations High-Level Panel on Global Health Security.

Gostin is a director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center on Public Health Law and Human Rights. The WHO Director-General has appointed Gostin to high-level positions, including the International Health Regulations (IHR) Roster of Experts and the Expert Advisory Panel on Mental Health. He served on the Director-General's Advisory Committee on Reforming the World Health Organization. Also, he is a member of the WHO/Global Fund Blue Ribbon Expert Panel to develop a global health equity framework. His proposal for a Framework Convention on Global Health — an international treaty ensuring the right to health — is now part of a global campaign, endorsed by the U.N. Secretary-General and Director of UNAIDS. In the U.S., Gostin led the effort to draft the Model Emergency Health Powers Act to combat bioterrorism and the “Turning Point” Model State Public Health Act.

The O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University is the premier center for health law, scholarship and policy. Its mission is to contribute to a more powerful and deeper understanding of the multiple ways in which law can be used to improve the public’s health, using objective evidence as a measure. The O'Neill Institute seeks to advance scholarship, science, research and teaching that will encourage key decision-makers in the public, private and civil society to employ the law as a positive tool for enabling more people in the United States and throughout the world to lead healthier lives.

To view the O’Neill Institute release with Gostin’s video acceptance speech, click here.


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