Yale Law School will open the Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy on Nov. 12 thanks to a donation from Howard Solomon LAW ’52, former CEO of the pharmaceutical company Forest Laboratories.
The center is part of a larger effort to consolidate the health law and policy organizations at the law school, said Elizabeth Dervan LAW ’17, co-chair of the Yale Health Law and Policy Society. The center will be directed by law professor Abbe Gluck ’96 LAW ’00 and will serve as an institutional meeting place for students and scholars interested in law, health and public policy. Yale Law School is the only major law school to place an interdisciplinary focus on government, industry and medicine, Gluck said, adding that the center will allow the law school to expand its curriculum offerings in health law and to host more conferences on the subject. The law school would not disclose the size of the donation.
“[The center] is a very modern approach to health law and really captures the focus on the people who lead and really change the field,” Gluck said. “The center will let us take an already robust interest in health law to the next level.”
Current faculty members will be joining forces with visiting scholars and faculty to determine the center’s programming, said YLS Director of Communications Jan Conroy.
The center will officially launch with a two-day conference titled “The New Health Care Industry: Integration, Consolidation, Competition in the Wake of the Affordable Care Act.” Addressing the recent consolidation of the medical industry, the conference will feature Kathleen Sebelius, former Secretary of Health and Human Services, as the keynote speaker. Gluck said the conference has been a collaborative effort between the law school, the Yale School of Management and several professional school organizations, including YHeLPS and the Yale Medical Student Council.
Howard Forman, professor of diagnostic radiology, management and public health at the School of Medicine, who will be moderating a session at the conference, said the new center will allow medical students with an interest in health law to study the intersection between the two fields in greater depth.
“Yale Law School is arguably the best law school in the country, if not the world, and it’s good for all of us to have healthcare be a part of their curriculum, if not at least their electives,” Forman said.
Gluck said she hopes the center will use its resources to collaborate with other Yale schools. Nathan Nash LAW ’17, editor in chief of the Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law and Ethics, said that while student organizations can foster interests in health law, the center will be able to provide students with a professional setting to pursue those same interests.
The law school is not the only professional school at Yale seeking to expand its scholarship in health law. The School of Management has gone from having only one dedicated faculty member in the study of healthcare to more than a dozen, while both the political science and economics departments have had similar increases in healthcare scholarship, Forman said.
Gluck said this trend mirrors the ambitions that she has for the Solomon Center.
“Our mission is always interdisciplinary and collaborative because that’s what health is,” Gluck said. “You can’t study health without being interested in interdisciplinary work.”
Co-chair of the Yale Health Law and Policy Society Deborah Mazer LAW ’17 said the society was already working with Gluck before the donation. She said that while the Society has its own programming, because both groups have the same vision, that programming can now run in coordination with the Solomon Center.
Alumni have expressed similar excitement.
“Speaking with alumni, they’re excited to see health law becoming the focus of Yale Law School and I’m excited to see how the Solomon Center blossoms and how health law at Yale blossoms,” Mazer said. “There’s something special about beginnings.”
Solomon retired as CEO of Forrest Laboratories in Dec. 2013.