Law Center, NHS Establish Institute on Health Law

The Georgetown University Law Center and the School of Nursing and Health Studies will use a $10 million gift from two alumni to jointly establish an institute for global health law, the university announced last week.

The Linda and Timothy O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law will be the first to offer a Master of Laws program in global health law, said Lawrence Gostin, associate dean of the Law Center, who will serve as the program’s director.

Gostin called the creation of an institute in global health law his “lifelong dream.”

“My aim is to have this become a world-class institute in global and national health studies,” Gostin said. “I believe that it will be the preeminent institution of the field in a few years time.”

The institute will be financed by a $10 million donation from Timothy O’Neill (GRD ’77), a member of the university’s Board of Directors, and his wife, Linda (NHS ’77), chair of the NHS Board of Visitors.

The Law Center will accept the program’s first class next year, which Gostin estimates will include about 12 students.

To accommodate the new institute, the Law Center will add to its current course offerings in health law and hire several new professors, Gostin said. He said that undergraduate students will have access to the new classes.

“The courses in global health law will focus upon global institutions such as the [World Health Organization] and the World Bank,” Gostin said.

Timothy O’Neill said that he and his wife chose to make a major donation because of Georgetown’s unique opportunity to provide academic leadership in global health.

“We think that under President [John J.] DeGioia’s leadership, Georgetown is well positioned for the future in several areas, in particular global health,” he said.

Gostin said that although the institute will be located at the Law Center, the NHS will make a significant contribution to the program’s research. Together, he said, the two schools hope to combine their strengths to make a substantial impact on the world’s health crises.

“Our goal is to find innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing health problems, from HIV and AIDS to pandemic flu to chronic obesity,” Gostin said.

Both O’Neill and Gostin have worked with other university officials, including deans from the Law Center and the NHS, over the past year to design the program’s curriculum.

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