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Hodge brings health law, ethics and policy expertise

October 05, 2009

An eminent scholar in public health law and policy, whose work has focused on public health information, privacy law and ethics, emergency legal preparedness, legal issues of communicable disease control and health care reform, has joined the faculty of the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.

In July, James G. Hodge Jr. was named the Lincoln Professor of Health Law and Ethics by Dean Paul Schiff Berman. Hodge also is a faculty fellow in the Center for the Study of Law, Science & Technology at the College of Law, where he teaches courses in Health Law, Ethics and Policy; Public Health Law and Ethics; and Global Health Law and Policy.

Hodge is a senior scholar, and a former executive director, at the Centers for Law and the Public's Health: A Collaborative at Johns Hopkins and Georgetown Universities in Baltimore, and an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center. He currently serves as president of the Public Health Law Association, a nonprofit organization that seeks to advance the use and understanding of law to protect and improve the public's health, and recently was appointed to an ad hoc committee of the National Academies' Institute of Medicine, which is developing national guidance to establish crisis standards of care.

As a practicing attorney, Hodge became intrigued by issues of public health policy while representing various local and state governments. That interest blossomed at Georgetown Law, where he initially collaborated with Lawrence O. Gostin, an associate dean and professor of global health law.

"I learned from him about some of the most complex issues in the public health sphere," says Hodge, who earned his LL.M. at Georgetown Law in 1997, "and literally went from taking classes to teaching classes as an adjunct professor" at Georgetown.

Hodge's academic skills were further honed in 1999, when he was selected for the Greenwall Fellowship Program in Bioethics and Health Policy, a partnership of Johns Hopkins University and Georgetown University.

During his subsequent nine-year faculty appointment at Johns Hopkins, he served in several capacities: as professor in its Bloomberg School of Public Health, faculty member in its Center for Global Health, affiliated faculty in its Center for Public Health Preparedness a and core faculty in the Berman Institute of Bioethics. At Johns Hopkins and Georgetown Law, he taught courses in global health law and policy; public health and law; public health law and ethics; bioethics and the law; health information privacy law and policy; and genetics, ethics and the law, among others.

With support from an array of federal, state and private sector grants, Hodge established himself as a prolific author of peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, newspaper editorials, reports and other publications. His scholarship focuses on topics such as emergency legal preparedness, volunteer health care personnel, legal issues underling pandemic flu, sexually transmitted diseases, obesity and other public health issues.

He was intricately involved in the drafting of several public health-law reform initiatives, including Model State Public Health Information Privacy Act, the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act, the Turning Point Model State Public Health Act and the Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act.

His roots in the law brought him to the College of Law, he said.

"I wanted to make sure that, at some point in my career, I would more intensely explore varied issues within a legal environment," Hodge says. "Criminal law, constitutional law, environmental law and policy, transnational law — these all areas to which additional exposure to legal scholars is a real plus to me.

"And the opportunity to build an aggressive curriculum here in global health law policy was very attractive."

Hodge says he hopes his students will discover he's a non-traditional professor, whose career has been steeped in policy development, and who is as interested in learning from them as they are from him.

"I don't teach traditionally," he says. "I try to teach in an interactive way. Students will be part of the learning process and will learn from each other as well as what I can offer them. Within ASU, I look forward to reinventing myself as a faculty member in law and policy."

Hodge received the 2009 Outstanding Faculty Award for his work on the Student Coordinating Committee in the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health's Department of Health Policy and Management, and the Henrik L. Blum Award for Excellence in Health Policy, which was presented by the American Public Health Association in 2006.

He earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from the College of Charleston in South Carolina, a J.D. from Salmon P. Chase College of Law in Kentucky and an LL.M. at Georgetown Law. He is licensed by the Kentucky and South Carolina state bars, by the federal courts in those states and by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Janie Magruder,
(480) 727-9052
Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law