Health Law and Policy

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 on Point

Core Health Law Faculty

Hank T. Greely

Henry T. Greely

  • Deane F. and Kate Edelman Johnson Professor of Law
  • Director, Center for Law and the Biosciences
  • Professor, by courtesy, Genetics
  • Chair, Steering Committee of the Center for Biomedical Ethics
  • Director, Stanford Program in Neuroscience and Society

Faculty Research Projects

Hank T. Greely

Hank Greely has been publishing widely on the issues raised by human germline genome editing and He Jiankui’s “CRISPR’d babies.”

Hank Greely has worked on various issues around “human brain surrogates,” from human/non-human brain chimeras, to human neural organoids, to partial or whole human brains kept “alive” outside the body.

Hank Greely is writing a book called “Playing With Life” about who advances in the biosciences are, in effect, letting humans change living organisms in ways and to extents never before imagined…and exploring what kind of world(s) we may end up with.

Daniel Kessler

Daniel Kessler is investigating how choice of organizational form by physicians (for example, solo versus group practice), and integration between physicians and hospitals, affect competition and the cost and quality of care. 

Daniel Kessler is studying how different types of prescription drug insurance affect opioid prescribing behavior by physicians.



Michelle M. Mello

Michelle Mello is exploring approaches to regulating high-priced prescription drugs.

Michelle Mello is examining whether proactively offering an apology, explanation, and compensation to patients injured by medical care can save on malpractice liability costs and improve patients’ and physicians’ experiences.

Michelle Mello and David Studdert are studying how governance of data transfers between universities and external organizations for research purposes could be improved.


David M. Studdert

David Studdert is leading a study examining the relationship between firearm ownership and risks of mortality among residents of California.

David Studdert is conducting an international study assessing the role of traffic laws and their enforcement in preventing road accidents.

David Studdert and Michelle Mello are investigating how the experience of being sued changes the way physicians deliver care.


Experiential Learning

SLS offers opportunities for students interested in health to pursue structured experiential learning through:

Inside Stanford Lawyer Magazine