Disability is central to human life. As the slogan from disability studies goes: “disability is everywhere, once you know how to look for it.” After a steady stream of scholarship from the 1990s onward, work in the field of philosophy of disability has expanded exponentially. Despite this explosion, there has never been a peer-reviewed journal devoted to scholarship in the field of philosophy of disability. Until now.
The Journal of Law and the Biosciences is the first fully open-access, peer-reviewed, legal journal focused on the advances at the intersection of law and the biosciences. JLB is co-edited by Profs. I. Glenn Cohen (Harvard Law School), Nita Farahany (Duke University School of Law), and Hank Greely (Stanford Law School). JLB contains original and response articles, essays, and commentaries on a wide range of topics, including bioethics, neuroethics, genetics, reproductive technologies, stem cells, enhancement, patent law, and food and drug regulation. JLB is published as one volume with three issues per year, with new articles posted online on an ongoing basis.
The Journal of Law and the Biosciences recently received a journal impact factor of 2.431, making it one of the most cited, influential journals in its fields. In fact, JLB ranks 14 out of 148 law journals and is ranked third out of sixteen in the areas of both medical ethics and legal medicine.
From 1999 to 2017, almost 218,000 people died in the United States from overdoses related to prescription opioids. Overdose deaths involving prescription opioids were five times higher in 2017 than in 1999, according to the CDC.
Previous research has indicated that patients who receive higher doses of prescription opioids have an increased risk of overdose and mortality. In response, several states have established Morphine Equivalent Daily Dose (MEDD) thresholds that convert opioid prescriptions to their equivalent dose in morphine and divides the total prescription by the number of days the prescription is intended to last, allowing for comparison among different opioid formulations and strengths. MEDD policies set thresholds for prescribers, which may only be exceeded in limited circumstances, such as when being prescribed to certain patient groups or as short-courses.
Sara Heins, PhD, an associate policy researcher at RAND Corporation, used policy surveillance to track MEDD policies through June 1, 2017 (data are available on LawAtlas.org). She published an article in Pain Medicine on March 13 that describes U.S. MEDD policies.
We asked Dr. Heins a few questions about her work and this recent publication. Read More
Florence Nightingale once said, “The connection between health and the dwellings of the population is one of the most important that exists” — a statement that is as true today as it was at the turn of the 20th century. A decent dwelling and diverse communities, where there is access to transportation, good schools, shops, parks, socioeconomic mixture, social capital and collective efficacy, and economic opportunity are all features necessary for both a high-level and equitable distribution of well-being.
The promise of healthy housing and communities, however, falls short in the United States. Much of the housing in the U.S. is expensive, unsafe, and inadequate in supply. Read More
Public health experts know that the social determinants of health—the environments in which we live, work, learn, and play—all have important effects on our health and well-being. As further evidence of this, in October 2018, researchers from Opportunity Insights collaborated with the Census Bureau to unveil the Opportunity Atlas, an interactive tool tracking data from more than 20 million Americans from childhood through their mid-30s, across each of the country’s 70,000 census tracts. The Opportunity Atlas gives us crucial insight into the level of geography that can impact adult outcomes: beyond the state and city, the neighborhood matters, sometimes tremendously. Read More
Big data continues to reshape health. For patient privacy, however, the exponential increase in the amount of data related to patient health raises major ethical and legal challenges.
In a new paper in Nature Medicine, “Privacy in the age of medical big data,” legal and bioethical experts W. Nicholson Price and I. Glenn Cohen examine the ways in which big data challenges the protection (and the way we conceive) of health care privacy. Read More
Glenn and Mark have done their bit for benchmarking our field with another round of health law professor rankings. It is a largely thankless task, so thank you professors. Last year, I responded to their list with the observation that any count based on law review publication alone was problematic in assessing the contributions of those in our field whose scholarship is primarily empirical or aimed at the health world. I offered a suggestive “top scholars list” based on Google Scholar profiles. Using Google Scholar, which captures articles in all fields, plus books and gray literature, brought a number of different names into the top 20. Since Google Scholar depends on individuals to create and clean their profiles, my list missed a lot of top scholars without profiles (I am talking about you, Michelle Mello and George Annas, etc. etc.), but it was enough to suggest that some very productive and much-cited scholars were missed in the Hall-Cohen list.
Health law (as many people conceive it) is a broad field that includes bioethics, biotechnology, medical malpractice, health care finance and regulation, health policy, and public health. Therefore, to supplement the Sisk data, we include health law scholars beyond those based at law schools.
This is a companion post to Most-Cited Health Law Scholars in WestLaw, 2013-2017. As noted there, health law is a broad and fundamentally interdisciplinary field that spans bioethics, biotechnology, medical malpractice, health care finance and regulation, health policy, and public health. The Westlaw citation search partially accounted for this breadth by including leading health law scholars in schools of public health and medicine. However, two major limitations remain—both especially important in our field—which prompted this additional citation analysis.