Irene Jiang

Yale Law School officially opened the Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy Thursday afternoon.

Established by the donation of Howard Solomon LAW ’52, former CEO of the pharmaceutical company Forest Laboratories, the center will focus on the governance, business and practice of health care in the United States. The launch event featured a keynote address given by former Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and drew more than 200 students, alumni and healthcare practitioners.

“The center is wildly ambitious. It is the first law school center of its kind, to focus on intersections of health law, government, industry and practice of medicine,” Law School Dean Robert Post said in the opening address. He added that the center’s interdisciplinary approach to health care and policy makes it unique. Post added that the center’s opening marked a special moment in the school’s near 200-year history as it celebrates the launch of something “entirely new.”

Director of the Solomon Center and Law School professor Abbe Gluck gave a brief remark following Post’s speech. Gluck said American law schools took a long time to recognize the significance of health law to their curriculums and that health law had not been introduced to law schools until very recently.

Despite opening officially just on Thursday, the center has already undertaken several initiatives, Post said. The center held a major conference on the 50th anniversary of Medicare earlier this year, helped expand course offerings in fields related to health law at the law school and launched a community lawyer program in which law school students are able to work alongside doctors.

Sebelius, who was introduced by the CEO of Yale-New Haven Hospital Marna Borgstrom, gave a 30-minute address explaining the changes in the health care industry since the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, as well as future trends facing the industry. In her speech, Sebelius said the inflation rate of health care in the US is the lowest it has been in 50 years, and that the current rate is well-below that before the ACA was introduced. Before the ACA was passed, the inflation rate of health care in America was twice the growth rate of the GDP.

Nathan Guevremont LAW ’18 said the most interesting part of the launch event was that it provided shuttles to transport students from the School of Medicine and the School of Management to join the event. Students from outside the Law School contribute a variety of perspectives, Guevremont said.

Roshan Rahnama SOM’16 said the keynote speech was inspiring.

“I’ve been involved in U.S. health care policy for close to a decade and having the opportunity to hear about the implementation of health care reform — the ACA — from the forefront person who has pushed this legislation forward, it has been truly inspirational,” said Rahnama, who currently works as a health care consultant.

Camella Boateng, an audience member who works at the health care consulting firm Strategic Management Services, LLC, said it is inspiring to see Yale being innovative and aligning health care law and policy. This is the step in the right direction in reforming U.S. health care, she said.

The center’s launch will continue with a conference on the U.S. health care industry today.

Correction, Nov. 15: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the center held a conference for the 50th anniversary of Medicare earlier this month. In fact, the conference was held earlier this year.