Maryland Carey Law hosts 46th annual Health Law Professors Conference

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Health law scholars from across the nation and around the world traveled to Baltimore in June for the 46th Health Law Professors Conference from June 7 – 9, 2023.

The largest health law professors’ event in the country, the annual conference attracts faculty who teach law and bioethics in schools of law, medicine, dentistry, public health, social work, and more. The event was co-sponsored by the American Society of Law, Medicine, and Ethics (ASLME) and the Law and Health Care Program at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. This year, over 250 scholars registered for the conference.

Noting that this is the third time Maryland Carey has hosted this distinguished conference, Professor Diane Hoffmann, Director of the Law & Health Care Program shared that looking back at the 1993 and 2006 conferences hosted in Baltimore, gave her perspective on how the field of health law has grown and evolved.

“In 1993, we had 6 plenary sessions and 10 concurrent sessions, and by 2006, the conference and number of speakers had grown sufficiently that we needed another afternoon, so we had what we called “preconference workshops” the day before and 2 plenaries, 3 updates, a poster session and 16 concurrent sessions.”

Professor Hoffmann also noted that in 1993, sessions included topics such as “Reproductive Rights – Where are we?” and Physician Assisted “Aid in Dying.”

“This trip down memory lane showed me that we have been prescient in some of our scholarship but that some of the issues we address have continued to engage us for the last 30 years!”

This year’s conference included more than 50 concurrent sessions and over 150 presentations featuring panelists from as many institutions, the conference offered attendees expansive opportunities to engage on critical issues, including access and equity, regulations, reproductive health, vaccine law, health technology, and current pedagogical issues. Presenters came from law schools at institutions including Harvard, Yale, Georgetown, Penn, Cornell, University of Virginia, Columbia, Emory, Ohio State, Penn State, and Boston University. Additionally, interdisciplinary scholars from medical, social work, and public health institutions were panelists.

Maryland Carey Law faculty speakers and panelists included Professor Natalie Ram, Professor Matiangai Sirleaf, and Professor Liza Vertinsky. Law & Health Care Program alumnus Michael Ulrich, who is an Assistant Professor of Health Law, Ethics, & Human Rights at Boston University's School of Public Health and School of Law, also presented as a plenary panelist.

Between sessions, participants were treated to a walking tour of the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus, of which Maryland Carey Law is a part. Stops included historic Davidge Hall, the oldest building in the Western Hemisphere continuously used for medical education; The R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, the nation's first and only integrated trauma hospital, and Westminster Hall and Burying Ground, home of Edgar Allen Poe’s grave. Participants shared that the conference was full of “so many great people and so many really rich events” and that “it was great to see everyone come together with such warmth and excitement.”

Health law faculty also enjoyed the annual awards ceremony and dinner at the Maryland Science Center, where the ASLME Health Law Scholars were announced, and the Jay Healey Teaching Award was presented to Mary Crossley of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. At the dinner and throughout the conference, participants remembered the life and work of Charity Scott, Professor Emerita and founding director of the Georgia State University’s Center for Law, Health & Society, who played an integral role in the teaching conference for many years.

At lunch on the final day of the conference, Hoffmann led a beloved tradition during which the current host school “passes the torch” to the next conference site. Next year, the event will convene at Temple Law School in Philadelphia.