Over one dollar in six in the US economy is spent on health care, and the need for wise public and organizational policy decisions to control costs, to improve quality, and to increase access has never been greater. In the public health arena, the nation confronts a rising tide of noncommunicable disease, resurgent threats of infectious disease, and other problems that will demand legal and policy interventions. Stanford Law School is second to none as a training ground for tomorrow’s leaders in health law and policy. Four renowned Law School faculty members offer courses in health care law, public health law, and bioethics and advise students interested in careers in the field. Courses in mental health law, food and drug law, mass tort litigation, environmental law, policy analysis skills, and other critical areas help expand students’ intellectual toolkit. Joint degree programs with the Stanford University School of Medicine, the ability to cross-register for health-related courses taught in other Stanford professional schools and departments, and research opportunities through Stanford’s health-focused research institutes round out the experience.
Faculty Research Projects
Hank Greely is completing a book on the future of human reproduction, arguing that within 20 to 40 years, most babies in rich countries will be conceived by in vitro fertilization, using eggs derived from induced pluripotent stem cells from the mother, so that the parents can use genome sequencing to select their embryos whose genetic traits they like best.
Hank Greely is working on issues on how advances in neuroscience that increase predictability of mental illness or neurological disease, such as schizophrenia or Alzheimer disease, in particular individuals will affect law, society, and culture.
Daniel Kessler is investigating how accountable care organizations and other “vertical” relationships in markets for health services affect competition and the cost and quality of care.
Daniel Kessler is examining whether privately-administered health plans in Medicare (known as Medicare Advantage) perform better or worse than the traditional, publicly-administered version of the program.
Michelle Mello is conducting a survey study to examine how public opinion towards public health laws that aim to influence “lifestyle choices” such as smoking and eating evolves over time.
Michelle Mello is examining whether hospitals and their liability insurers can successfully implement programs to head off medical malpractice litigation by communicating openly with patients about medical errors and offering compensation proactively.
David Studdert is conducting an international study assessing the role of traffic laws and their enforcement in preventing road accidents.
David Studdert is an investigator in a randomized, controlled trial testing the effect of an educational intervention to improve the way physicians discuss unanticipated outcomes of care with patients.
Research Programs and Centers
Linkages between SLS and health-focused research centers around Stanford University make for rich environment for research on health law and policy. These centers include:
Center for Law and the Biosciences
Stanford Program in Neuroscience and Society
Center for Health Policy / Primary Care Outcomes Research
Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research
Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics
Stanford Center on Longevity
School of Medicine Department of Health Research and Policy
Gender and the Genome
Journal of Law and the Biosciences
Joint Degree Programs
- JD/MS in Health Policy (focus in Health Services Research or Epidemiology)
- JD/PhD in Health Policy (focus in Health Services Research or Decision Science)
- JD/MS in Epidemiology and Clinical Research
- JD/PhD in Epidemiology and Clinical Research
- JD/MD in Law and Medicine
- JD/PhD in Law and Psychology