Meet Me in St. Louis

June 15, 2015


Health professors from across the country came to Scott Hall last week as SLU LAW and the Center for Health Law Studies served as host to the 38th Annual Health Law Professors Conference, co-sponsored by the American Society of Law, Medicine and Ethics (ASLME). This national conference, the most prominent for health law professors, is hosted by a different school each year.

With approximately 200 attendees including about 150 health law professors on hand from June 4-6, the conference was a huge success as participants were provided with updates on issues at the forefront of law and medicine and had opportunities to share strategies, ideas and materials relevant to teaching health law and bioethics.

As host, the Center for Health Law Studies planned the conference’s programming, where they coordinated three plenary sessions and 38 concurrent panels. One of the most well-received sessions was the opening plenary, “Lessons from Ferguson and Beyond: Bias, Health and Justice.” Organized by Jane and Bruce Robert Professor of Law Sidney Watson and former SLU LAW adjunct professor Vence Bonham, panelists explored the effects of threats of violence and other forms of insecurity on community health.

It's hard for many of us to talk about race, but the events of this year in Ferguson and elsewhere have pushed us out of our comfort zone and into new discussions,” said Watson. “We wanted to continue the discussions we have been having at SLU LAW with the conference attendees and talk about the impact of race, racism and violence on health. We also wanted to explore what we can do as health law teachers in our teaching, research and service."

Alan Weil, editor-in-chief of Health Affairs, the nation's leading health policy journal which is frequently accessed by practitioners and policy makers, served as the conference’s keynote speaker. He presented “Why Policymakers Need Health Law Scholarship Now More Than Ever,” effectively connecting scholars and researchers to the everyday importance of health law and policy.

Other topics throughout the weekend included addressing the best way to get students interactive in the classroom and innovative teaching techniques, information on the current status and the future of the Affordable Care Act, the integration of health care and public health, and public access to and privacy concerns in medical big data.  

Further highlighting the strong reputation of the Center for Health Law Studies was the number of business sponsors secured for the conference. Along with platinum sponsor Greensfelder, Hempker & Gale, P.C., the School of Law was proud to have Epstein Becker & Green P.C., Lewis, Rice & Fingersh L.C., Thompson Coburn LLP, Lashley & Baer P.C., Express Scripts and Health Capital Consultants on board to make the conference so successful.

“Having the support of the legal community shows they understand the importance of legal education and specialized health law education in particular,” said Amy Sanders, assistant director for the Center for Health Law Studies. “We appreciate their financial and reputational support of this conference, allowing health law educators to gather and discuss health scholarship and best practices in teaching future health law practitioners.”

Many attendees took to Twitter to share their conference experience. A few are highlighted below, but check out #HLP15 for more conversation.