Leading Public Health Law Scholar Michelle Mello Joins Stanford Law School Faculty

STANFORD, Calif., June 9, 2014–Stanford Law School today announced that Public Health Law scholar Michelle Mello will join the Stanford Law School faculty as professor of law, effective summer 2014. She will also hold a joint appointment as professor of medicine at the Stanford School of Medicine.

Photo by Emily Cuccarese

Mello is the Director of the Program in Law and Public Health at the Harvard School of Public Health and Chair of the School’s Institutional Review Board. She is a leading expert in the field of public health law whose empirical research focuses on issues at the intersection of law, ethics and health policy. She has written more than 130 articles and book chapters on the medical malpractice system, medical errors and patient safety, research ethics, the obesity epidemic, pharmaceuticals, clinical ethics, and other topics. Among her current projects, Dr. Mello is studying disclosure and compensation of medical inquiries as the recipient of a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Investigator Award in Health Policy Research.

“Regulation of the quality and financing of health care is one of the key challenges of our time,” said M. Elizabeth Magill, Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and Dean of Stanford Law School. “Michelle Mello is unquestionably one of the country’s preeminent empirical and theoretical health law and policy scholars, and, with Dr. Mello at Stanford Law School, we have assembled, in just a few short years, a world-class team of researchers and teachers addressing the key issues of health care financing and quality, public health, and medical ethics. In the years ahead, I am certain that Dr. Mello and her colleagues will shape our understanding of these vital topics.”

“The addition of Michelle Mello brings to Stanford Law School one of the most productive young scholars in the area of medical malpractice and public health law and solidifies our position as the most important academic institution for this work in the country,” said John J. Donohue III, C. Wendell and Edith M. Carlsmith Professor of Law. “Michelle and her coauthors have published some of the most important, blockbuster papers examining error rates in medical malpractice cases, the ability of hospitals to shift costs of medical errors to others, and the source of medical error between systemic forces and errors by individual doctors.  In addition to being an outstanding researcher, Michelle is also an outstanding teacher and colleague, and we are thrilled to have her join our faculty.”

Mello’s recent publications include “A Framework for Public Health Law Research,”Public Health Law Research: Theory and Methods (2013); “Administrative compensation for medical injuries: lessons from three foreign systems,” New York, Commonwealth Fund (2011); Policies affecting access to sugar-sweetened beverages in schools; legal and regulatory review,” Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (2006); “Medical Malpractice: impact of the crisis and effect of state tort reforms,” Research Synthesis Report No.10, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (2006) and “The role of clinical practice guidelines in malpractice litigation,” Harvard Risk Management Foundation (2000).

One of Mello’s most frequent collaborators is Professor David Studdert, who has co-authored more than 50 articles with her and, like Mello, holds a joint appointment at the Stanford School of Medicine. “Michelle Mello is a stunning addition to our faculty,” Studdert said. “She is the country’s leading academic public health lawyer, and her scholarship will form an important part of the bridge SLS is building to other parts of the University, particularly the School of Medicine. In addition, our students are in for a treat because Michelle is a truly inspiring teacher and mentor.”

Before joining SLS, Mello served as a Key Consultant to the National Program Office of RWJF’s program in Public Health Law Research.

“SLS is the most exciting setting in the country for pursuing empirical legal studies and high-impact work in health law and policy,” Mello said. “I hope to be able to help strengthen SLS’s bridge to the Medical School and other parts of the university, and tempt our talented students to pursue careers in the health arena.”

More on Michelle Mello

Prior to her faculty appointment at Stanford, Mello was a member of the Harvard School of Public Health faculty (2000-Present) and Key Consultant to the National Program Office of RWJF’s program in Public Health Law Research. She holds a BA (1993) from Stanford University, a M.Phil (1995) from Oxford University where she was a Marshall Scholar, a Ph.D (1999) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a JD (2000) from Yale Law School. In 2013, she was elected to the Institute of Medicine.

About Stanford Law School 

Stanford Law School is one of the nation’s leading institutions for legal scholarship and education. Its alumni are among the most influential decision makers in law, politics, business, and high technology. Faculty members argue before the Supreme Court, testify before Congress, produce outstanding legal scholarship and empirical analysis, and contribute regularly to the nation’s press as legal and policy experts. Stanford Law School has established a new model for legal education that provides rigorous interdisciplinary training, hands-on experience, global perspective, and focus on public service, spearheading amovement for change.