Wendy K. Mariner

Professor of Law

Edward R. Utley Professor of Health Law, Bioethics & Human Rights,
Boston University School of Public Health
Professor of Socio-Medical Sciences and Community Medicine,
Boston University School of Medicine

BA, Wellesley College
JD, Columbia University
LLM in Tax, New York University
MPH, Harvard University

Areas of Interest
Health Law

Professor Wendy Mariner’s research focuses on laws governing health risks, including social and personal responsibility for risk creation in conceptions of insurance, as well as national health systems, including the Affordable Care Act and ERISA, health information privacy, and population health policy.

She has published more than 100 articles in the legal, medical and health policy literature on patients and consumers’ rights, health care reform, insurance benefits, insurance regulation, public health, AIDS policy, research with human beings, and reproductive rights, and co-authored the law school textbook, Public Health Law (with Ken Wing, George Annas, and Dan Strouse). She also serves as a Program Chair of the Program in Health Law & Human Rights, a joint project with the Public Health Regulations Analysis Center of the National School of Public Health of the New University of Lisbon. Currently, she serves on the Health Information Exchange-Health Information Technology Council Advisory Committee for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and chairs its Legal and Policy Workgroup. She is also a member of the Council of the American Bar Association’s Individual Rights and Responsibilities Section.

Professor Mariner has served on state, national, and international boards and commissions, including the Massachusetts Health Facilities Appeals Board, the Massachusetts Health Care Quality and Cost Council Advisory Committee, the National Institutes of Health’s AIDS Policy Advisory Committee, Institute of Medicine Study Committees, the CIOMS/WHO Steering Committee for the International Ethical Guidelines for Biomedical Research Involving Human Subjects, and the Executive Board of the American Public Health Association. Her university activities have included serving as Chair of the Boston University Faculty Council, Co-Director of Regulatory Knowledge and Research Ethics of Boston University’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute, and legal director for the Boston University School of Public Health project providing technical assistance to the Russian Federation in developing health reform legislation.

She has served as contributing editor for health law and ethics for the American Journal of Public Health and currently sits on the editorial boards of Journal of Health Politics, Policy & Law, the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, and Human Rights and the Global Economy. She and Professors Annas and Glantz have submitted amicus curiae briefs to the United States Supreme Court in cases involving health law issues, including the Affordable Care Act.


3 credits

Traditional public health is rapidly transforming itself from state programs to prevent disease in populations (e.g., vaccinations and newborn screening) to federal and international efforts to more broadly promote the "right to health." This problem-oriented seminar enables students to answer questions about health risks as such questions typically arise in practice -- in all their complexity and without preassigned doctrinal labels. It covers contemporary examples of the seven deadly sins -- anger, gluttony, lust, sloth -- plus drugs, alcohol, tobacco, firearms, biobanks, epidemics, bioweapons, and surveillance. The seminar offers a systematic framework for identifying and controlling health risks, drawing on theories of risk perception, cognitive reasoning, and empirical evidence. Students analyze and compare the applicability and effectiveness of different legal strategies to control risks, such as criminal and civil prohibitions, mandatory product standards, tort liability, mandatory data collection, biometric testing, conditions of employment, marketing restrictions, quarantine, and taxation. Emphasis is on the different scope of laws (state, federal and international) regulating personal behavior and laws regulating products and commercial activities. A writing project to develop a legal strategy to address a contemporary risk to health is required. This seminar is open to law students, SPH graduate students and advanced public health majors. As it originates in the Law School, it will follow the Law School's calendar and time schedule. GRADING NOTICE: This course does not offer the CR/NC/H option. LIMITED WRITING REQUIREMENT OPTION: A limited number of students may be permitted to satisfy the upper-class writing requirement in this seminar. **A student who fails to attend the initial meeting of a seminar (designated by an (S) in the title), or to obtain permission to be absent from either the instructor or the Registrar, may be administratively dropped from the seminar. Students who are on a wait list for a seminar are required to attend the first seminar meeting to be considered for enrollment.

SPRG 2016: LAW JD 926 A1 , Jan 14th to Apr 14th 2016
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
Thu 8:30 am 10:30 am 3 Wendy K. Mariner LAW 418
SPRG 2017: LAW JD 926 A1 , Jan 19th to Apr 20th 2017
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
Thu 8:30 am 10:30 am 3 George J. Annas LAW 418
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