Professors awarded public health law research grant
Timothy Lant, research director at ASU’s Decision Theater, and James G. Hodge Jr., the Lincoln Professor of Health Law and Ethics at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, have received a grant to examine the role law plays in critical public health emergencies, such as the H1N1 flu pandemic.
Hodge, director of the College’s Public Health Law and Policy Program, and Lant, an affiliate faculty member in the program, were awarded a $150,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s new Public Health Law Research program. They will use the 18-month award to examine the types of legal decisions that must be made rapidly during public health emergencies and the science behind those decisions.
“Together with my colleagues at Arizona State University, we’re excited about the ground-breaking research to be undertaken through this project, especially in the midst of declared national and state emergencies surrounding the current H1N1 outbreak,” Hodge said.
“This grant will allow us to apply the innovative decision-making research methods we've developed at ASU's Decision Theater and demonstrate how to prepare and execute the best informed decisions during times of crisis,” Lant said. “So many factors come into play during a crisis, and it is imperative to consider all aspects of what to change.”
The proposal, “Building Evidence for Legal Decision-Making in Real Time: Legal Triage During Declared Emergencies,” responds to the foundation’s interest in strengthening the performance and effectiveness of the public health system through law and research.
It combines legal theory and practice with decision-making science to explore how legal and public health decision makers can use law in critical public health emergencies to protect people from significant morbidity and mortality.
“We’ll be looking closely at how real time emergency decision makers and lawyers make critical legal choices that impact response efforts designed to protect the public’s health,” Hodge said.
The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, renamed for the retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice in 2006, is pursuing a bold and transformative model for public legal education in the 21st century, a model we call “legal education in the future tense.”
This model re-imagines the law school as a multifaceted legal studies center serving law students, professionals from other fields and undergraduates seeking broad-based exposure to legal issues. At the core of this expansion is a dedication to making the law school a valuable resource for addressing major regional, national and international problems of law and public policy.
The College is the leading law school in the Phoenix area, boasting an Indian Legal Program that is arguably the best in the nation; housing the Center for the Study of Law, Science, & Technology, the oldest, largest and by far the most comprehensive law and science center in the country; and the new Center for Law and Global Affairs. Beyond the traditional J.D., the College offers several concurrent degrees, including a J.D./M.D. program with the Mayo Medical School, a J.D./M.B.A. with the W. P. Carey School of Business at ASU, a J.D./Ph.D. in Law and Psychology with the ASU Department of Psychology, and a J.D./Ph.D. in Justice Studies with the ASU School of Social Transformation’s Justice and Social Inquiry Program. It also offers graduate degrees in Biotechnology and Genomics, and in Tribal Policy, Law and Government. A Master of Legal Studies program gives non-lawyers an opportunity to develop legal skills needed to help students advance in their professional careers (www.law.asu.edu). Decision Theater, part of ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability, is a decision lab that provides organizations, agencies and governments with the tools to address emerging sustainability challenges using visualization, informatics and analytics (www.decisiontheater.org). The Global Institute of Sustainability is the hub of ASU’s sustainability initiatives. The Institute advances research, education and business practices for an urbanizing world (sustainability.asu.edu).