Epstein Health Law and Policy

The Epstein Health Law and Policy Program promotes cutting-edge research, policy analysis, and public service/public engagement on critical issues in health care; fosters collaboration between scholars focused on health law and policy; and facilitates collaboration among government leaders, practitioners, and academic researchers on issues of increasing complexity. The Program faculty partner with other universities, both domestic and abroad, on a variety of research projects.

The Program has established partnerships with various units on the Urbana-Champaign campus, including the College of Medicine, the Department of Community Health, and the Institute of Government and Public Affairs for various research and public service projects.

Director

Robin Fretwell Wilson – Roger and Stephany Joslin Professor of Law and Director, Family Law and Policy Program

Affiliated Faculty

Robin Fretwell Wilson – Roger and Stephany Joslin Professor of Law and Director, Family Law and Policy Program
Richard L. Kaplan – Guy Raymond Jones Chair in Law
Gene Robinson – Director of the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology and Swanlund Chair of Entomology

Advisory Board

Richard L. Kaplan – Guy Raymond Jones Chair in Law
Kurt Leifheit – Associate General Counsel at The Carle Foundation
King Li – Dean, Carle Illinois College of Medicine

Student Organizations and Activities

Elder Law Society
Family Law Society (President: Nicole Joseph, Vice President: Dmitri Kachan)
Health Law Society (President: Michael Paluzzi, Vice President: Ashley Kennedy)
Loyola Transactional Moot Court Team 2016 (Amanda Ray, Sarah Ahmed, and Daniel Walbright; coached by Kurt Leifheit, Associate General Counsel at The Carle Foundation)

Network Affiliations

International Academy of Medical Ethics and Public Health (news story)

News on Bioethics Technology and Parentage

Why Three (or More) Parents Leave the Kids as Losers

Founding Health Law Alumni Mentoring Program

Current alumni mentors in the program are:

New Perspectives on Health Policy: Annual Symposium

The New Perspectives on Health Policy Annual Conferences explore pressing issues in health policy, with the goal of making enduring, tangible contributions to our understanding of health care law and policy.

  • The 2017 New Perspectives on Health Policy Symposium, organized in conjunction with the Carle health system, will address The Medicalization of Poverty. It is well documented that a number of diseases are strongly linked to poverty, and poverty is a strong predictor of health status. But a second aspect of poverty is less well-explored—that we have medicalized poverty. We spend inordinate amounts of money and other resources to address healthcare needs brought on by poverty instead of providing for the tangible needs of the poor before illness strikes. We treat the symptom, not the problem. This gathering is to consider “How can we do better, and what role can law and policy play?” The Symposium will bring together experts on the connection between poverty, disease burden, and healthcare expenditures to explore creative approaches for improving the life chances of the most disadvantaged among us. The healthcare system itself may have a transformative role to play.

    The symposium is jointly provided and co-sponsored by the Carle health system, the Epstein Health Law and Policy Program at the University of Illinois College of Law, the University of Virginia Department of Public Health Sciences, the University of Virginia School of Medicine Center for Biomedical Ethics and Humanities, the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the College of Business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Carle Illinois College of Medicine, and MedAxiom

    Featured presenters include:

    • James J. Heckman, the Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago and a Nobel Memorial Prize winner in economics, will present the keynote address on November 2. 
    • Governor Thomas Thompson, former Secretary of Health and Human Services and Governor of Wisconsin, will deliver the keynote address on November 3.
    • Professor Mark Hall, Director of Health Law and Policy Program, the Wake Forest School of Law
    • Ruth Gaare Bernheim, Chair, Department of Public Health Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Virginia and Co-Director of The Institute for Practical Ethics and Public Life
    • Professor Richard L. Kaplan, the Guy Raymond Jones Chair in Law at the University of Illinois and a leading expert in elder law
    • Professor Dayna Matthew, the Director of the Health Law and Policy Program and Professor of Law at the University of Colorado Law School, a well-respected voice in public heath
    • Professor Mary Crossley, a leading disability scholar and former dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law
    • Professor Elizabeth Weeks Leonard, the J. Alton Hosch Professor of Law at the University of Georgia School of Law
    • Professor William M. Sage, James R. Dougherty Chair for Faculty Excellence at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law
    • Professor David Orentlicher, Co-Director of the William S. and Christine S. Hall Center for Law and Health at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law
    • Professor Ruby Mendenhall of the Department of Sociology at the University of Illinois
    • Professor David A. Hyman, Georgetown University School of Law
    • Professor Robin Fretwell Wilson, Roger and Stephany Joslin Professor of Law, Director of Epstein Health Law and Policy Program, University of Illinois College of Law
    • Professor Daniel Becker, Tussi and John Kluge Professor of Palliative Medicine and Director, Center for Biomedical Ethics and Humanities, University of Virginia School of Medicine
    • Professor Monica Uddin, Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Illinois
    • Professor Lois Shepherd, Peter A. Wallenborn, Jr. and Dolly F. Wallenborn Professor of Biomedical Ethics, Professor of Health Sciences, Professor of Law, University of Virginia
    • Ryan Graver, President of MedAxiom Ventures
    • Commissioner Marissa J. Levine, MD MPH, State Health Commissioner, Virginia Department of Health
    • Professor Madhu Viswanathan, PhD, Diane and Steven N. Miller Professor in Business at the University of Illinois
    • Professor Abbe R. Gluck, Professor of Law, Director of the Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy, Yale School of Law
    • Professor Michelle Oberman, Katharine and George Alexander Professor of Law, Santa Clara University School of Law
    • Catrina Miksis, 2016 Equal Justice Works Fellow, 2016 graduate of the College of Law
    • Craig J. Konnoth, Sharswood Fellow & Lecturer in Law, Senior Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, University of Pennsylvania Law School Rudin Fellow, NYU Langone Medical Center, Senior Fellow Penn. Leonard Davis Inst. For Health Econ.
    • Carolyn Pointer, JD, Policy Director, Office of Population Science and Policy, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine
    • David Steward, MD, MPH, Vice Chair for Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement, Department of Internal Medicine, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine
    • Arden Caffrey, Policy Intern, Office of Population Science and Policy, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine
    • Govind Persad, JD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Berman Institute of Bioethics, Johns Hopkins University and Department of Health Policy & Management, Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health
    • Brendan Saloner, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Berman Institute of Bioethics, Johns Hopkins University 

  • The Inaugural New Perspectives on Health Policy Symposium on September 10, 2015 examined “Law, Religion and the Family Unit After Hobby Lobby,” and was co-sponsored with the Family Law and Policy Program and Depaul University.  The Symposium featured presentations on challenges to the contraceptive coverage mandate under the Affordable Care Act, state circumcision restrictions, end-of-life decisionmaking and other points of contact between religious values and medical choices. The featured presentations included:
    • Professor Elizabeth Sepper, Associate Professor of Law, Washington University School of Law, who spoke on “The Risky Business of RFRAs After Hobby Lobby & Zubik”
    • Professor Michael Helfand, Associate Professor of Law, Pepperdine University School of Law, and Associate Director, Diane and Guilford Glazer Institute for Jewish Studies, on “The Future of Religious Liberty in the Wake of Hobby Lobby & Zubik,”
    • Gregory Lipper, Litigation Counsel at Clinton Brook & Peed and formerly Senior Counsel for Americans United for Separation of Church and State,  on “The Contraceptive-Coverage Cases and the Problem of Politicized Free-Exercise Lawsuits,”
    • Professor Michele Bratcher Goodwin, Chancellor’s Professor of Law, University of California, Irvine, and Founder, The Institute for Global Child Advocacy, on “Constitutional Hierarchies,”
    • Eric Rassbach, Deputy General Counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, on “Coming Soon to a Court Near You: Religious Male Circumcision,”
    • Professor Jim Dwyer, Arthur B. Hanson Professor of Law, William & Mary Law School, on “The Easiest Accommodation: Abandoning Other People’s Children to Their Parents’ Religious Views,”
    • Professor Richard L. Kaplan, Peer and Sarah Pedersen Professor of Law, University of Illinois College of Law, on “ Religion and Advance Medical Directives,”
    • Naomi Cahn, Harold H. Greene Professor of Law, George Washington University Law School & Reverend Amy Ziettlow, Affiliate Scholar, Institute for American Values, Writer for The Huffington Post, on “Personal Religious Identity at the End of Life.”

The University of Illinois Law Review published papers from the symposium. In addition, a new edited collection, The Contested Place of Religion In Family Law (Robin Fretwell Wilson, ed.) under contract with Cambridge University Press, explores the limits of religious claims in the healthcare and family setting.

Health Law and Policy Conversation Series

The Health Law and Policy Conversation Series explores timely and pressing issues affecting healthcare and its delivery.

Michael McRaith addresses the College of Law community during his October 2016 visit.

  • Josh Blackman, Associate Professor of Law at the Houston College of Law (November 15, 2016) – Blackman will discuss his forthcoming book, Unraveled: Obamacare, Religious Liberty, and Executive Power, which has received favorable reviews from people across the ideological spectrum.  Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of the University of California Irvine School of Law said: “Josh Blackman has written a thorough and engaging account of the political and legal issues surrounding Obamacare. This book is a must-read for all who are interested in the history of the Obama presidency and especially of its most important legislative accomplishment.”
  • Michael T. McRaith, Director of the Federal Insurance Office (FIO) (October 25, 2016) – As director of FIO, McRaith advises the secretary on domestic and prudential international insurance matters of importance. FIO monitors all aspects of the insurance sector, including access to affordable insurance for traditionally underserved communities and consumers, minorities and low- and moderate-income persons.
  • “How Advanced Care Planning Can Improve Care” presented by Bernard Hammes, director of Respecting Choices (October 14, 2015) – Hammes discussed the need for a proactive approach to painful issues around death. The event is co-sponsored by University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign.
  • The 2015 Inaugural Conversation with the Author: Paul A. Offit, MD“Bad Faith: When Religious Belief Undermines Modern Medicine” (April 6, 2015) – Offit examined the costs of religious exemptions to medical neglect laws.

A Lens Into Health Law Practice: Conversations With Members of the Practicing Bar

The Epstein Health Law and Policy Program provides tangible opportunities for students to intersect with health law practitioners and policymakers.

  • Breakfast with Fazal Khan, JD, MD, Associate Professor of Law, University of Georgia School of Law
  • Breakfast with Kurt Leifheit, Associate General Counsel at the The Carle Foundation

Roundtable Discussions on Pressing Questions in Health Care

The Roundtable Discussions on Pressing Questions in Health Care is a series of collaborative conversations with faculty around the country.


Michele Bratcher Goodwin speaks during the roundtable discussion at UC-Irvine School of Law.

    • The first roundtable was co-convened with Michele Bratcher Goodwin (Chancellor’s Professor of Law at University of California, Irvine and founder of The Institute for Global Child Advocacy) in January 2017 and discussed questions of religious conscience and access to healthcare. View the livestream of the debate:

  • The second roundtable took place on April 4, 2017 at the Idaho State Capitol Building. Religion & Child Welfare: Do They Have to Be at Odds? was a discussion with Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, Professor of Law Shaakirrah Sanders from the University of Idaho College of Law, and Professor Robin Wilson of the University of Illinois College of Law. The discussion was moderated by Representative John McCrostie.