The Law & Health Care Program at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law aims to prepare its students for any number of careers, and several recent graduates have gone on to distinguish themselves in the field of academia.
Ameet Sarpatwari, PhD, JD, graduated from the School of Law with the Certificate in Health Law in 2013. He now works as an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School and an associate epidemiologist with Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He also serves as assistant director for the Program On Regulation, Therapeutics, And Law (PORTAL) at the hospital.
Sarpatwari studies pharmaceutical policy issues such as the rising cost of prescription drugs and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s post-approval safety and effectiveness monitoring systems. Sarpatwari says he is currently working on developing ethical norms for the effective and equitable use of a particular safety program—risk evaluation and mitigation strategies (REMS) with elements to assure safe use—based on epidemiological investigations and focused interviews with patients, physicians, and regulators. In a recent New England Journal of Medicine paper, Sarwatpari and co-authors examined transparency legislation that would force pharmaceutical companies to disclose their research and development costs as well as the prices they charge in other countries, in hopes of lowering prices in the U.S.
“The stellar faculty” at Maryland Carey Law helped to prepare him for his career, he said. “Having the chance to learn from some dynamic scholars, particularly Richard Boldt, JD, and Rena Steinzor, JD, was invaluable. The one-on-one interaction, outside of class - you don’t get that elsewhere.”
Sarpatwari also valued his “field experience,” including an internship working with Marjorie Cook Professor of Law Karen Rothenberg, JD, MPA, on her bioethics research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He also worked with Ellen Weber, JD, in the Drug Policy Clinic that she founded at Maryland Carey Law, helping to draft and advocate for a Maryland law that increased access to naloxone, an opioid overdose antidote.
Michael Ulrich, JD, MPH, a 2011 graduate, described a similar positive experience with the Law & Health Care Program. Since earning his law degree and the Certificate in Health Law, Ulrich has worked at the University of Maryland Center for Health & Homeland Security, earned his master’s at the Harvard School of Public Health, and worked at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the Division of AIDS. Ulrich just completed a two-year fellowship at Yale Law School, and this fall he begins a new position as an assistant professor of health law, policy & management at the Boston University School of Public Health.
Ulrich said there is no question what inspired him to join academia – the faculty in the Law & Health Care Program at Maryland Carey Law. “What helped me the most was the open door policy that every professor had,” Ulrich said. “I loved the professors’ willingness to go above and beyond. With my papers, they would go through the issues with me and suggest what to read, and go over my research. That’s really what drew me to the teaching part of academia. It was such a huge benefit and added so much to my learning experience. I wanted to provide that for students by teaching.”
Ulrich will begin at BU by teaching a health law policy course this fall. “The research area that I’m interested in is gun rights and the second amendment, and applying public health law doctrine to second amendment rights,” he said.
Ulrich began his academic career speaking at the 39th Annual Health Law Professors Conference held this year at Boston University School of Law. Ulrich’s talk was titled, “The Right to Bear Arms: A Pubic Health Law Approach.”