Georgetown establishes leading institute for global and national health law

Institute co-founded by GUMC's School of Nursing & Health Studies and Georgetown Law Center

Washington, DC -- Georgetown University is pleased to announce the establishment of the Linda and Timothy O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law. The Institute, which was created by a generous $10 million gift from Linda and Timothy O'Neill, is among the first for the study of global and national health law.

"We are deeply grateful to Linda and Tim O'Neill for this transformative gift," said Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia. "Their vision positions Georgetown as a leading home for national and global health law."

The O'Neill Institute, co-founded by the Georgetown University Law Center and the Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies (NHS), will create centers on global health, disease prevention and health outcomes, health regulation and governance, and health care financing and organization. Housed at Georgetown Law Center, in the heart of the nation's capital, the Institute will bring together top scholars and fellows in the areas of health and law who will create innovative projects to address health problems that face the international community.

The Institute will also draw upon the University's considerable intellectual resources, including the School of Medicine, the Public Policy Institute, the NHS Center for Health and Education and the Kennedy Institute of Ethics.

"By using law as a tool, the O'Neill Institute will dramatically improve health around the globe," noted Georgetown Law Associate Dean Lawrence O. Gostin, who will serve as the O'Neill Institute's faculty director. "The O'Neill Institute will provide comprehensive solutions to help solve the world's most pressing health problems such as epidemic disease, obesity and threats surrounding bioterrorism."

"It is our intention that the O'Neill Institute will become the leading health law and policy program in the nation and one of the world's most important health law training and research centers," said Georgetown Law Dean T. Alexander Aleinikoff.

"The O'Neill Institute will give voice in real time to evidence-based research that promotes the public's health. The centers will have high impact and systemic effects on major health issues facing the world today," said Bette Keltner, Dean of Georgetown's School of Nursing & Health Studies.

Project plans include:

  • Training ministers of health and other health officials from developing countries in Africa and elsewhere in public health and health systems, with the goal of improving the health of their populations.

  • Using legal tools such as tax policy, disclosure of ingredients, and zoning law reforms that would allow more nutritious choices and better environments for exercise and active lifestyles to prevent and lessen obesity that leads to chronic disease.

  • Collaborating with the World Health Organization (WHO) to draft its model public health law and guidelines on pandemic influenza. Gostin is currently the chairman of the WHO committee on the legal and ethical aspects of public health interventions for pandemic influenza.

  • Developing disease surveillance initiatives to strengthen the capacity of health care providers in the detection, screening and reporting of health data, particularly for vulnerable and "silent" populations.

  • Examining the impact of increased life expectancy and other demographic trends and the effect on the financing, organization and delivery of long-term health care.

  • Developing a set of bold, yet pragmatic strategies for containing medical costs, improving health care access and quality, and reducing socio-economic, racial, and other disparities in care.

  • Examining US food safety laws, with a goal of moving towards a system that is up-to-date and rational, that closes regulatory gaps and eliminates overlaps, and that is responsive to modern public health concerns rather than century-old public health crises.

  • Studying the ethical and legal questions raised by use of brain scanning and other biotechnologies to assess and counter threats to national security.

"Georgetown has played a vital role in my family's life, and we are extremely pleased to support this important new initiative for the Law Center and the University," said Timothy O'Neill. Timothy O'Neill, a 1977 graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and a member of Georgetown University's Board of Directors, is a managing director at Goldman Sachs in New York. Linda O'Neill graduated from Georgetown University's School of Nursing & Health Studies in the same year and is the current chair of the School's Board of Visitors.

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The O'Neills are long-time supporters of Georgetown. They funded the law alumni center in the Eric E. Hotung International Law Center building and extensive renovation of St. Mary's Hall at the School of Nursing & Health Studies. The O'Neills have also endowed scholarships and provided discretionary funds at both schools.

About Georgetown University

Georgetown University is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university in America, founded in 1789 by Archbishop John Carroll. Georgetown today is a major student-centered, international, research university offering respected undergraduate, graduate and professional programs on its three campuses in Washington, DC. For more information about Georgetown University, visit www.georgetown.edu.

About Georgetown University Medical Center

Georgetown University Medical Center is an internationally recognized academic medical center with a three-part mission of research, teaching and patient care (through our partnership with MedStar Health). Our mission is carried out with a strong emphasis on public service and a dedication to the Catholic, Jesuit principle of cura personalis--or "care of the whole person." The Medical Center includes the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing & Health Studies, both nationally ranked, and the world renowned Lombardi Cancer Center.


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