Advancing the Vaccine Law Dialogue

Pre-conference: September 13 Washington, D.C.

Speakers backpage-2.0

Brian Dean Abramson

Author, Vaccine, Vaccination, & Immunization Law, and Adjunct Professor of Vaccine Law at the Florida International University College of Law.

Brian Dean Abramson is the primary author of the legal treatise, Vaccine, Vaccination, and Immunization Law, the most comprehensive treatise written with respect to this field of law, published by Bloomberg Law in cooperation with the American Health Law Association in November 2018, and regularly updated thereafter. A second print edition was published by AHLA in February 2022. He teaches the subject as Adjunct Professor of Vaccine Law at the Florida International University College of Law.

Mr. Abramson previously worked for Bloomberg Law, for whom he authored the vaccine injury claims chapter of Matthew H. Solomson’s Court of Federal Claims: Jurisdiction, Practice, and Procedure, and for whom he wrote extensively in the fields of health and international privacy law. He was a law clerk for the Honorable Pauline Newman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, where he took an exceptional interest in the court’s vaccine injury docket. Prior to this, he interned with the Honorable Susan G. Braden of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, and practiced intellectual property law with the firm of Lott & Friedland in Coral Gables, Florida.

Mr. Abramson received an MA in Comparative Sociology from Florida International University, followed by his JD, summa cum laude, from the Florida International University College of Law, and an LLM in intellectual property law with highest honors from the George Washington University Law School.

Mr. Abramson will be presenting materials on the general state of Vaccine Law as a field, and specifically on public and private vaccination mandates, and responses to antivaccine activism.

James M. Beck

Senior Life Sciences Policy Analyst, Reed Smith LLP

Mr. Beck joined Reed Smith’s Life Sciences Health Industry, Product Liability, and Appellate Groups in the spring of 2012. Mr. Beck handles complex personal injury and product liability litigation. He has overseen the development of legal defenses, master briefs, and dispositive motions in numerous multidistrict litigation matters and other mass torts. On the appellate side, he has drafted major appellate briefs in significant product liability and related matters, including numerous amicus curiae briefs.

Mr. Beck is a member of the Product Liability Advisory Committee (PLAC) and has sat on PLAC’s case selection committee since 1997. He has written over 70 amicus curiae briefs on product liability issues for PLAC. In 2011, James was awarded the PLAC’s John P. Raleigh Award, the eighth time the group’s highest honor has been bestowed since PLAC’s founding in 1982. He is also the founder and co-host of the award-winning Drug & Device Law blog.

Mr. Beck received his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and his B.A., cum laude, from Princeton University.

Susan G. Braden

Chief Judge, United States Court of Federal Claims (Ret.)

Judge Susan G. Braden was appointed in 2003, by President George W. Bush, to the United States Court of Federal Claims which has exclusive jurisdiction over cases against the federal government arising from a variety of areas, including vaccine injury claims.  On March 13, 2017, she was designated as Chief Judge.

Since her retirement from the federal bench, she has been appointed as a Public Member of the Administrative Conference of the United States, a Fellow of the American Bar Association, and to the Board of Directors of privately- held companies in the software, artificial intelligence, and construction industries.

Judge Braden recently was designated as one of ten U.S. Arbitrators to resolve disputes arising under the USMCA (United States-Mexico-Canada-Agreement) Treaty and Jurist-In-Residence, Center For Intellectual Property and Policy, Antonin Scalia School of Law, George Mason University.

Mark Easterly

Vice President, Legal Services, Houston Methodist Hospital 

Mark Easterly has served as Vice President for Legal Services at Houston Methodist Hospital since 2013. In this capacity, Mr. Easterly led the hospital’s legal efforts to develop the first employee COVID-19 vaccination mandate to be imposed in the United States, and participated in the defense of that mandate against challenges arising both from employees and from state officials.

Mark Easterly is a Vice President for Legal Services at Houston Methodist, a nationally-recognized nonprofit health care system in Houston, Texas. His areas of practice are general corporate and health care law, with emphasis on business transactions, contracts, physician employment and medical staff relations, health care regulatory issues, hospital operations, nonprofit and tax exempt organizations, information technology and real estate. Before joining Houston Methodist in January, 2013, Mark previously served as Regional General Counsel at CHRISTUS Health and as Associate Counsel at Baylor Health Care System.

Mark is a member of the American Health Lawyers Association and the State Bar of Texas. He is a former president of the Houston Bar Association Health Law Section. Mark’s professional speaking experience include presentations made for the American Health Law Association, the State Bar of Texas Health Law Section, the University of Texas School of Law CLE program, Baylor College of Medicine Grand Rounds Program, the South Texas College of Law Medical Futility Conference, the Texas Hospital Association, the Texas Medical Foundation, the American Medical Directors Association, the NCVH–New Cardiovascular Horizons Annual Conference, the Asian American Bar Association of Houston, and the Houston Bar Association Health Law Section. Mark has also spoken as a guest lecturer at Dallas Baptist University and the University of Houston Law Center.

Mark received his undergraduate degree from Southwestern University in 1992 and law degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law in 1996.

Renée Gentry

Director, George Washington University Law School Vaccine Injury Litigation Clinic

Ms. Gentry founded her own firm, the Law Office of Renée J. Gentry, Esq. in Washington DC, specializing in vaccine injury litigation in June 2019. She is one of the leading experts on vaccine injury litigation in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP).

Ms. Gentry has advised numerous congressional members, staff, and committees on issues relevant to the NVICP, and she has also helped to draft proposed legislation. She is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia and is admitted to the Federal Claims Court Bar. She is a member of the Vaccine Injured Petitioners Bar Association, a national bar representing the interests of claimants in the NVICP, where she served as President for four years. She is also a member of the US Court of Federal Claims Bar Association and the American Association for Justice (formerly ATLA).

Previously, she served as the Senior Analyst on the Defense and Aerospace Companies Briefing for Teal Group Corporation. Ms. Gentry consulted for the US Government, French Government, and major prime contractors on European defense industry consolidation, antitrust issues, specific defense market overviews for product development and profiles of companies designed to assist management in acquisition activities. After leaving Teal Group, she worked as principal liaison to corporate clients, as well as the Washington National Opera and Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists Program advising them on a range of immigration issues. She has practiced vaccine litigation since 2001.

In addition to Directing the Vaccine Injury Litigation Clinic, Ms. Gentry teaches Disability Rights Law. She received her BA from Drake University, and her JD from Washington University Law School.

Jessica Gunder

Assistant Clinical Professor of Law, University of Idaho

She was previously an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Idaho, a Trial Attorney in the United States Department of Justice Consumer Protection Branch, and law clerk to Judge E. Richard Webber of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. Professor Gunder received her B.A. in Political Science and Sociology from University of Missouri-Columbia, and her J.D. from the University of Missouri School of Law Professor Jessica R. Gunder joined the law school faculty in 2017.  She received her B.A. in both Political Science and Sociology in 2003 from the University of Missouri, graduating with honors.  She then earned her J.D. in 2007 from the University of Missouri, where she was elected to membership in the Order of the Coif and Order of Barristers. 

Following law school, Professor Gunder served as a judicial clerk for the Honorable E. Richard Webber with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.  She then worked as a Trial Attorney with the Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Branch in Washington, DC, where her responsibilities included advancing both criminal prosecutions and civil litigation related to the protection of public health and safety.  Professor Gunder also worked as an Assistant United States Attorney at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Idaho, where she served as the Civil Division’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement Coordinator and Civil Rights Coordinator.

Sam Halabi, JD, MPhil, Senior Associate Vice-President for Health Policy and Ethics and Professor, Colorado School of Public Health

Prof. Sam F. Halabi serves as the Senior Associate Vice-President for Health Policy and Ethics at Colorado State University and a Professor at the Colorado School of Public Health and the Department of Political Science in the College of Liberal Arts. He is also a Senior Scholar at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University as well as an affiliate researcher at its Center for Global Health Science and Security. Professor Halabi’s research career has focused on the ethical, legal, and regulatory dimensions of biomedical innovation and collaboration especially in the context of epidemic and pandemic preparedness and response. Professor Halabi advises or has advised the COVAX Facility, the World Bank, World Health Organization, the National Foundation for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Global Virome Project, among other national and international organizations.

He has published 4 books and more than 70 manuscripts in areas including data sharing during infectious disease emergencies, the development and deployment of vaccines in routine and emergency circumstances, liability and indemnity factors affecting private sector participation in emergency response, the philosophy of medicine, international technology transfer, public health ethics, and vector-borne disease surveillance. His work is published in the Georgetown Law Journal, the Harvard International Law Journal, JAMA, the Lancet, the New England Journal of Medicine, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society and the Yale Journal of International Law. Professor Halabi previously taught at the University of Missouri and the University of Tulsa College of Law. Before his research and teaching career, he practiced law at the Washington, D.C. office of Latham & Watkins and clerked for Judge Nanette K. Laughrey of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri. He received his J.D. from Harvard University, his M.Phil. from the University of Oxford (St. Antony’s College), and his B.A./B.S. from Kansas State University.

Denise M. Hill, Associate Professor, Drake University, Chair of Public Administration

Drake Associate Professor Denise Hill, JD, MPA brings 25-years of health care legal, policy, public administration, and ADR experience to the classroom, practice of law, and community.  She continues to practice health and employment law and mediate with the Whitfield & Eddy law firm in Des Moines, Iowa.  

Denise is a sought-after speaker, author, media commentator, and thought leader on a variety of contemporary health law and ethics topics. Most recently she authored Vaccine Mandates in the Health Care Workplace: A Legal Primer for Employers published by the American Health Law Association. For many years Denise has advised health care organizations, written, and presented on public health and vaccination law issues at the state and national levels. For example, two decades ago Denise helped to negotiate the Public Health Disaster Emergency provisions in the Iowa Code that were utilized during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Denise was recently named the Vice-Chair for the first National Vaccine Law Conference to be held at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University in September 2022.   


In 2017, Denise was selected as one of 15 nationally known health law experts to contribute to the 30th anniversary addition of the highly regarded Health Law Handbook series published by WestGroup in spring 2018. Her article “Patient-Centered Compliance in a World of Pain” provides insights and guidance on legal and compliance issues related to pain management and opioids; an area that she has studied and presented on for many years. Denise is also a co-author of the forthcoming text Maximize Student Retention and Persistence to Graduation: Proven Strategies for Higher Education as well as the Powerful Learning Communities: A Guide to Developing Student, Faculty, and Professional Learning Communities to Improve Student Success and Organizational Effectiveness that was published by Stylus. 

Previously, Denise was the Director of Health Law Programs at Drake Law School; practiced law and mediation with the Davis Brown Law Firm, was an Associate Professor in the Colleges of Medicine, Podiatry, and Health Sciences at Des Moines University; and taught for the University of Iowa’s Executive MHA program. Over the years she has won a number of awards that recognize the quality of her teaching and passion for individual student success. In addition to her work in private practice and academia, Denise was an Attorney/Manager of Public & Regulatory Affairs with the Iowa Medical Society and a State of Iowa labor relations attorney. 

Denise was a 1990 Harry S. Truman Congressional Scholar who graduated with honors from Drake University (law and MPA), Wartburg College (BA), and Waldorf College (AA).

Peter Jacobson, Director, Center for Law, Ethics, and Health University of Michigan School of Public Health

Peter D. Jacobson is Professor Emeritus of Health Law and Policy in the Department of Health Management and Policy, University of Michigan School of Public Health, and Director, Center for Law, Ethics, and Health. He received his law degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 1970, and a Masters in Public Health from UCLA in 1988. Before coming to the University of Michigan, he was Senior Behavioral Scientist at RAND from 1988 to 1996.

In 1995, he received an Investigator Award in Health Policy Research from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to examine the role of the courts in shaping health care policy. The project culminated in the publication of the book Strangers in the Night: Law and Medicine in the Managed Care Era (Oxford University Press, 2002). Jacobson is co-author of a law school casebook with Lawrence O. Gostin, David Hyman, and David Studdert titled Law and the Health System (Foundation Press, 2014), and is also a co-author of False Hope vs. Evidence-Based Medicine: The Story of a Failed Treatment for Breast Cancer (Oxford University Press, 2007). From 2010-2016, he served as Associate Editor for Health Law and Public Health at the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law. Since January, 2015, Jacobson has been a member of the Washtenaw County (Michigan) Board of Health, serving as chair from 2015-2018.

Professor Jacobson will discuss the state of COVID-19 vaccination resistance.

Dr. Fazal Khan, Associate Professor of Law, University of Georgia School of Law

Dr. Fazal Khan joined Georgia Law in the fall of 2006. Specializing in health law, Khan teaches Health Law & Policy, Bioethics, Public Health Law and International Products Liability.

His current research focuses on several major themes: reform of the American health care system, the effect of globalization on health care and the challenge of regulating emerging biotechnologies. Khan has considerable experience in both legal and medical fields and has been interviewed and called on as an expert by both television and print media on topics ranging from national health care reform and end of life legal issues to public health legal policies.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago and his medical and legal degrees from the Medical Scholars Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Richard Kingham, Senior Counsel, Covington & Burling LLP

Richard Kingham is a senior counsel at Covington & Burling LLP who concentrates on food and drug law. He has acted for most of the major pharmaceutical manufacturers and biotechnology companies in the United States and Europe, as well as trade associations such as the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), and the National Pharmaceutical Council. He has represented pharmaceutical manufacturers in administrative proceedings, criminal prosecutions, and congressional hearings, served on committees of the World Health Organization, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Institutes of Health and taught pharmaceutical law at universities in the U.S. and UK.

Daniel A. Kracovco-chair of the Life Sciences and Healthcare Regulatory practice, Arnold & Porter

Dan Kracov is co-chair of the Life Sciences and Healthcare Regulatory practice, which was recently named the top Healthcare practice in the country by Law360. For decades, he has been one of the foremost Food and Drug Administration lawyers in the country, and his expertise in critical regulatory matters has been widely recognized by Chambers, the Legal Times, Best Lawyers in America, and other publications. A particular focus of his practice is assisting pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device and diagnostic companies, including start-up companies, trade associations, and large manufacturers, negotiate challenges relating to the development, approval and marketing of FDA-regulated products. He also has extensive experience in matters relating to foods, dietary supplements and cosmetics.

In addition to day-to-day counseling on regulatory strategies and concerns, Mr. Kracov regularly handles product and compliance-related government and internal investigations, the development of global corporate compliance programs, and due diligence in financings, mergers and acquisitions. He has a widely recognized experience in biomedical public policy matters, including Congressional investigations and advising on FDA-related legislation

Brian J. Malkin, Partner, McDermott Will & Emory

Brian J. Malkin counsels pharmaceutical and biologic clients on Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory matters and intellectual property (IP) law, with an emphasis on patent litigation. His practice at the intersection of FDA- regulated products and patent law makes him a valuable partner to drug manufacturers, biotechnology clients, medical device companies and cannabis companies as they develop new products and protect their innovations though life cycle management, bring their products to market and pursue transactional opportunities.

Brian’s regulatory experience includes all types of FDA-regulated products: drugs and biologics (including animal drugs and biologics), medical devices, cannabis, foods and dietary supplements, cosmetics and tobacco products. He is a key advisor to pharmaceutical and biologic clients in the premarket, regulatory review, and marketing, enforcement and lifecycle management phases of product development. Brian works alongside his clients on drug development strategies and patent strategies across a variety of areas.


Peter H. Meyers, Professor Emeritus, George Washington University Law School

Peter H. Meyers joined the law faculty of the George Washington University Law School in 1994. He served as Director of the law school’s Federal and Appellate Clinic and Vaccine Injury Litigation Clinic.

Professor Meyers has published articles on the constitutionality of pretrial drug testing and reform of the flaws in the Federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. He also served as a Designated Reviewer of nine publications issued by the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine.

Professor Meyers has argued cases before many appellate courts around the country, including a landmark standing case before the US Supreme Court that established the right of people to sue the government for injuries to the environment. He has obtained reversals of murder convictions in several cases because of Confrontation Clause violations. He also served as Director of the Center for the Study of Drug Policy, and as Chairman of the Advisory Commission on Childhood Vaccines Workgroup of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


After taking emeritus status, he continues to teach a class on Drugs and the Law at the law school, as well as teach in the Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship Programs at Saint Elizabeths Hospital and the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Andrew Michaels, Assistant Professor of Law, University of Houston Law Center

Andrew Michaels teaches in the areas of intellectual property and statutory regulation, and his scholarship has focused in the areas of patent law and jurisprudence. Professor Michaels clerked for Judge Pauline Newman at the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit before practicing as a patent litigator for a number of years. Professor Michaels’ work has appeared in Brooklyn Law Review, Arkansas Law Review, Cincinnati Law Review, and New Mexico Law Review, and he also regularly publishes shorter more practice-oriented pieces in forums such as Law360, IPWatchdog, and Patently-O. Prior to joining the Law Center, Professor Michaels was a Visiting Associate Professor and the Frank H. Marks Intellectual Property Fellow at the George Washington University Law School.

Professor Michaels received, J.D., cum laude, from the New York University School of Law, and his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering Science, (minor Physics), cum laude, from Washington University in Saint Louis. 

Adam Mossoff, Professor of Law, George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School

Professor Mossoff teaches a wide range of courses at the law school, including property, patent law, trade secrets, trademark law, remedies, and internet law. His research primarily focuses on the theoretical justification for and historical protection of patents and other intellectual property rights as private property rights secured to inventors and creators, and thus function as commercial assets in driving a growing innovation economy and flourishing society. His research has been relied on by the Supreme Court, by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and by federal agencies.

Professor Mossoff actively participates in intellectual property policy. He has been invited numerous times to testify before the Senate and the House of Representatives on proposed patent legislation, and he is a regular speaker at congressional staff briefings. He was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Center for Intellectual Property Understanding in January 2020. He is a member of the Intellectual Property Rights Policy Committee of ANSI and he has served as Chair and Vice-Chair of the Intellectual Property Committee of the IEEE-USA, on which he remains a member in good standing.

Professor Mossoff graduated with honors from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was a research assistant to Richard A. Epstein and received a Bradley Governance Fellowship. Following law school, he was a John M. Olin Fellow in Law and Visiting Lecturer at Northwestern University School of Law, and he clerked for the Honorable Jacques L. Wiener, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Before coming to Scalia Law, he taught at Michigan State University College of Law, the University of San Diego School of Law, and Washington & Lee University School of Law. He holds an MA in philosophy, specializing in legal and political philosophy, from Columbia University and a BA with High Distinction and High Honors in philosophy from the University of Michigan.

Kirk J. Nahra, Partner, WilmerHale, and adjunct professor at the American University Washington College of Law

Peter H. Meyers joined the law faculty of the George Washington University Law School in 1994. He served as Director of the law school’s Federal and Appellate Clinic and Vaccine Injury Litigation Clinic.

Professor Meyers has published articles on the constitutionality of pretrial drug testing and reform of the flaws in the Federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. He also served as a Designated Reviewer of nine publications issued by the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine.

Professor Meyers has argued cases before many appellate courts around the country, including a landmark standing case before the US Supreme Court that established the right of people to sue the government for injuries to the environment. He has obtained reversals of murder convictions in several cases because of Confrontation Clause violations. He also served as Director of the Center for the Study of Drug Policy, and as Chairman of the Advisory Commission on Childhood Vaccines Workgroup of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


After taking emeritus status, he continues to teach a class on Drugs and the Law at the law school, as well as teach in the Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship Programs at Saint Elizabeths Hospital and the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

James T. O’Reilly, author of Vaccine Risks, Benefits, and Compensation

Volunteer Professor, Director of Concentration in Health Services Management, in the Division of Public Health, Department of Environmental Health, UC College of Medicine. Previously Volunteer Professor and Adjunct Professor, UC College of Law.

Mr. O’Reilly has authored 55 textbooks and over 230 articles on safety, health, and medical litigation issues.


Kevin Outterson, Professor of Law, Boston University School of Law

Professor Outterson teaches health law and corporate law at Boston University, where he co-directs the Health Law Program, currently ranked #5 in the country by US News and World Report. He is the executive director of Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X), a global partnership hosted at BU Law that is focused on supporting developers of promising new antibiotics, diagnostics, and vaccines that tackle the threat of untreatable bacterial infections. CARB-X has built the world’s largest and most innovative antibacterial pipeline, with $480 million in grant funding from three governments (US, UK, and Germany) and two foundations (Wellcome Trust and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation). He also leads the Social Innovation on Drug Resistance program at Boston University.

His research focuses on the organization and finance of the health sector. Areas of specialization include global pharmaceutical markets, particularly antibiotics and other antimicrobials that can degrade in usefulness over time through resistance. He participated in a grant from the European Union’s Innovative Medicines Initiative to study business models and incentives for antibiotic development. He leads an interdisciplinary project on the legal ecology of antimicrobial resistance, funded in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation program on public health law. He is an associate fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House, London, where he works on global solutions to antibiotic resistance, and an appointed member of the Antimicrobial Resistance Working Group at the Centers for Disease Control.

Professor Outterson has testified before President Obama’s Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic Resistance, where he presented the results of a two-year study sponsored by the European Union on designing economic incentives for antibiotic development.

Wendy Parmet, Director, Northeastern University School of Law Center for Health Policy and Law

Wendy E. Parmet is the George J. and Kathleen Waters Matthews Distinguished Professor of Law and Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University, where she is the faculty director of the Center on Health Policy and Law. Professor Parmet is the author of over 100 law review and peer reviewed articles. Her books include Constitutional Contagion: How Constitutional Law is Killing Us (forthcoming, Cambridge University Press), The Health of Newcomers: Immigration, Health Policy and the Case for Global Solidarity, co-authored with Patricia Illingworth (2017, NYU Press) and Populations, Public Health, and the Law (2009, Georgetown University Press). Professor Parmet is also Associate Editor for Law and Ethics for the American Journal of Public Health.

Professor Parmet clerked with Chief Judge Levin H. Campbell of the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and practiced with a large law firm prior to joining the Northeastern faculty. She is a member of the boards of directors (and a past president of the board) of Health Law Advocates and Health Care for All. Previously she has served as secretary for the Public Health Law Association and as a member of the ABA’s AIDS Coordinating Committee and Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law. 

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Roger L. Price, Partner, Seyfarth Shaw, LLP (Ret.), and author, When Judaism Meets Science

Roger L. Price was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, in the Hyde Park neighborhood. The area was best known as the home of the University of Chicago and the Museum of Science and Industry, as well as for its political independence. Critical thinking was the order of the day, as both common definitions and core principles were all subject to question. Equally important was that the discourse be civil.

Public grammar and high schools led to the University of Michigan, after which Price returned to Hyde Park to attend the University of Chicago Law School. Over forty years of engagement with the law included analyzing circumstances and events, identify legal issues, framing solutions, and writing persuasively and productively. In 2010, he retired as a partner with the firm of Seyfarth Shaw, LLP. Writing on Judaism and science since retirement in 2010 was a natural outgrowth of his roots in Hyde Park: no cow was too sacred for examination, nor immune to the power of empirical evidence. His first book, When Judaism Meets Science, reflects a commitment to recognizing differing viewpoints, gathering evidence, understanding the strengths and weakness of arguments, and, where possible, offering constructive proposals. The  Chapter, “A Nice Jewish Shot,” outlines the permissibility of vaccination under the religious laws of Judaism.

Dorit Rubinstein Reiss

Professor Reiss is a professor of law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. She received her undergraduate degree in Law and Political Science from the Faculty of Law in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where she served as Editor in Chief of the Law Review. She then clerked for a year and a half in the Israeli Ministry of Justice’s Department of Public Law, working on a variety of constitutional and administrative law issues.

She received her Ph.D. from the Jurisprudence and Social Policy program in UC Berkeley. Professor Reiss’ initial research examined accountability of agencies at the state, national and international level, with agencies studied including the CPUC, the FAA, and other agencies in the United States and Europe. Increasingly, however, her research and activities are focused on legal and policy issues related to vaccines. She writes about school mandates, policy responses to non-vaccinating, tort issues and administrative issues related to vaccines.

Mark A. Rothstein, Professor of Law, University of Louisville

Professor Rothstein has a joint appointment at the Brandeis School of Law and the School of Medicine. He holds the Herbert F. Boehl Chair of Law and Medicine and is the Founding Director of the Institute for Bioethics, Health Policy and Law at the University of Louisville School of Medicine.  He joined the University of Louisville faculty in 2001. Professor Rothstein has concentrated his research on bioethics, genetics, health privacy, public health law, research ethics, and employment law.  From 1999-2008 he served as Chair of the Subcommittee on Privacy and Confidentiality of the National Committee on Vital Health Statistics, the statutory advisory committee to the Secretary of Health and Human Services on health information policy.  He is past president of the American Society of Law, Medicine and Ethics.  He also served as Public Health Ethics Editor for the American Journal of Public Health from 2011-2019 and writes a regular column on bioethics for the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics.  Additionally, Professor Rothstein has authored 19 books and over 300 articles on his areas of research.

Peter O. Safir, Senior Counsel, Covington & Burling LLP

Peter O. Safir is a food and drug partner in the firm Covington & Burling. Mr. Safir has been practicing in the food and drug field for nearly 30 years and is widely recognized in the pharmaceutical industry as one of the leading food and drug regulatory lawyers in the country. 

In recent years, Mr. Safir has worked primarily with the research based pharmaceutical industry concentrating on marketing practices, life cycle management, and issues involving drug quality and manufacturing, although he has also advised clients on food additive and medical device issues. Mr. Safir recently advised PhRMA in drafting the new PhRMA Code and has advised many companies on complying with the Code as well as with Federal and State Anti-Kickback statutes. He has conducted numerous internal investigations involving fraud and abuse, advertising and promotional practices and drug and device GMP compliance issues and has defended enforcement actions in the marketing and GMP areas representing both companies and corporate executives targeted by the FDA. 

Mr. Safir has published and spoken widely in the area of drug regulation and has been a Professorial Lecturer in Food and Drug Law at George Washington University Law School since 1991. He has also appeared as an expert witness in cases involving Hatch Waxman issues both before the Federal Trade Commission and in private litigation.

Craig Sanders, Attorney specializing in Medical Malpractice Defense, Rainey Kizer

Craig Sanders is an attorney with the law firm of Rainey Kizer specializing in medical malpractice defense and professional liability. In 2022, he successfully defended a post-NVICP medical malpractice case asserting that a physician who had administered routine childhood vaccines to the plaintiff’s child was liable for the child’s autism.

Mr. Sanders has been named a “Rising Star” in area of medical malpractice defense by Law & Politics Mid-South Super Lawyers magazine and a top “40 under 40” professional by The Jackson Sun newspaper (2015). He has served as President of the Jackson-Madison County Bar Association from 2011 to 2012, and has an adjunct faculty member at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, teaching Medical Ethics and Legal Aspects of Healthcare Administration. His publications include articles on vaccine injury litigation published in For the Defense (DRI Magazine) and the Tennessee Bar Journal.

Mr. Sanders received his J.D., with high honors, from the University of Tennessee, in 2002, where he was a Third Year Editor on the Tennessee Law Review and a member of the National Moot Court Team. He received his B.A. in English, with high honors, from the University of Memphis, in 1998.

John R. Thomas, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center

Professor Thomas joined the Law Center faculty in 2002. He has served as a Visiting Scholar at the Congressional Research Service for the past decade and was named the inaugural Thomas Alva Edison Visiting Scholar at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2011. He previously was a member of the faculty of the George Washington University Law School, and has served on the visiting faculties at Cornell Law School and the University of Tokyo. Professor Thomas formerly served as law clerk to Chief Judge Helen W. Nies of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit; visiting fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and Comparative Patent, Copyright and Unfair Competition Law in Munich, Germany; and research scholar at the Institute of Intellectual Property in Tokyo, Japan. Professor Thomas has published numerous articles and six books on the subject of intellectual property law.

Katharine Van Tassel, Visiting Professor of Law, The Law-Medicine Center, Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Katharine Van Tassel is the Interim Executive Director, Graduate Programs in Compliance and Risk Management and Visiting Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve School of Law. Previously, she served as Dean and Professor of Law at San Francisco Law School, the oldest law school in San Francisco. She has served as the Associate Dean of Academics and Professor of Law at Concordia University School of Law, the founding Director of Health Law Programs and Professor of Law at Creighton University School of Law, the founding Director of the University of Akron’s Public Health Law & Science Center, as well as the founding Director of Akron Law’s Health Law Programs and Professor of Law. At Akron Law, she was the recipient of the 2013 Faculty Scholar of the Year award.

Professor Van Tassel’s co-authored book, Food and Drug Administration has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court and by numerous federal district courts and courts of appeals, her research has been cited by judges on the supreme courts of New Mexico and Nevada on issues of first impression, and she has testified as an expert witness at hearings held by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in Washington, D.C., as well as at hearings held before the Ohio Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Professor Van Tassel’s scholarship has appeared in numerous journals, and she is the co-author on the book, Litigating the Nursing Home Case and is the author of the book, International Encyclopaedia of Laws: Medical Law, United States of America (Wolters Kluwer – Kluwer Law International, 2022), part of a series by an international group of experts.

Professor Van Tassel will speak on inequities in vaccine injury compensation.


Professor Stacey Tovino joined the faculty at The University of Oklahoma College of Law in 2020. She is a leading expert in health law, bioethics, and the medical humanities and has particular expertise in the civil, regulatory, operational, and financial aspects of health law. Professor Tovino’s current research focuses on patient privacy and health information confidentiality, COVID-19 and the law, mental health law, and health technology and the law.

An elected member of the American Law Institute and an invited fellow of the American Bar Foundation, Professor Tovino is formally trained in both law and the medical humanities. She publishes her interdisciplinary research in textbooks, casebooks, encyclopedias, law reviews, medical and science journals, and ethics and humanities journals.

Professor Tovino is a frequent speaker on the local, national, and international level. She has been invited to guest lecture and present papers on a range of health law, bioethics, and medical humanities topics at schools of law, medicine, nursing, public health, pharmacy, life sciences, health sciences, and public policy, as well as undergraduate and graduate departments of neuroscience, biology, psychology, sociology, philosophy, and humanities around the world.

Elizabeth Weeks, Professor of Law, University of Georgia School of Law

Elizabeth Weeks joined the University of Georgia School of Law faculty in 2011. She presently serves as the university’s associate provost for faculty affairs and holds the Charles H. Kirbo Chair in Law. Her teaching and research interests include torts, health law, health care financing and regulation, and public health law. From 2018 to 2020, she served as the law school’s associate dean for faculty development. Additionally, she was awarded an SEC Academic Leadership Development Program Fellowship for 2021-22.

Prior to coming to UGA, Weeks served on the faculty at the University of Kansas School of Law. During her time there, she was honored with the Howard M. and Susan Immel Award for Teaching Excellence and with the Meredith Docking Faculty Scholar Award, a university-wide honor for faculty who have distinguished themselves early in their careers. Additionally, she served as a visiting professor at the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law and the UGA School of Law.

Her scholarship includes the book Healthism: Health Status Discrimination and the Law (with J. Roberts) (Cambridge University Press, 2018) and a health law casebook The Law of American Health Care (with N. Huberfield and K. Outterson), now in its second edition. She has also published numerous articles, including pieces in the Boston University Law Review, the Hofstra Law Review, the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law, the Washington University Law Review, the Georgia Law Review and the North Carolina Law Review. She was recognized as one of four emerging health law scholars nationwide by the American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics with its Health Law Scholars Award in 2005. Weeks has also served as chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Law, Medicine, and Health Care, and she currently serves as co-editor of the Health Law Section of the online journal Jotwell.

Before entering academe, Weeks worked as an associate in the Health Industry Group at Vinson & Elkins in Houston. She also served as a judicial clerk for Judge Jacques L. Wiener Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit and for Chief Justice Thomas R. Phillips of the Supreme Court of Texas.

Weeks earned her bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and her law degree summa cum laude from UGA, where she was on the Jessup Moot Court Team, was editor-in-chief of the Georgia Law Review and was inducted into the Order of the Coif. Before returning to her hometown of Athens for law school, Weeks was a psychiatric social worker in Chicago.

Professor Weeks will be speaking on Jacobson in the Context of Federal Vaccine Mandates.

Jonathan F. Will, Director, Bioethics & Health Law Center, Mississippi College of Law

Professor Will joined the Mississippi College of Law’s Faculty in the Fall of 2009. Since 2011 he has also served on the Affiliate Faculty of the Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities at The University of Mississippi Medical Center. Jonathan served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Faculty Development from 2015-2017, and is currently the Associate Dean for Research & Faculty Development. Jonathan works closely with the Dean in the pursuit of overall institutional advancement by providing leadership in the academic, intellectual, and administrative life of the law school. He is dedicated to fostering the commitment of MC Law to scholarship and teaching by providing support to all faculty.

Professor Will teaches upper level courses in Health Law and Bioethics, and has been voted 1L Professor of the Year for his section of Civil Procedure multiple times. He has written extensively about the implications of the nationwide personhood movement, reproductive rights, patient autonomy, and medical decision making. His cross-disciplinary work has appeared in both legal and medical journals, and he is a regular contributor with Harvard’s Bill of Health blog.

Professor Will received his J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, his M.A. in Bioethics, magna cum laude, from the University of Pittsburgh, and his B.A. in English and Psychology, summa cum laude, from Canisius College.

Dr. Jerry Williamson, physician and lecturer, Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

Dr. Jerry Williamson is a Board Certified physician and licensed risk manager. He has over 30 years experience in private practice and healthcare management. Dr. Williamson has served as Medical Director for a third party administrator, Vice President of Medical Affairs for a 280 bed hospital, Assistant Medical Director for a staff model HMO, and a private practice physician. He has served in a senior leadership role with Collier Health Services, a Federally Qualified Health Center in South Florida, including serving as the Chief Medical Officer and Director of the Biomedical Informatics Program. 

Dr. Williamson is a frequent lecturer and consultant on such topics as HIPAA, Healthcare Compliance, Medical Coding, Clinical Documentation Improvement, Prevention of Medical Errors, Physician Burnout, Health Information Technology, and Practice Management. He is a certified AHIMA trainer for ICD-10, and a consultant with The American Academy of Professional Coders. Dr. Williamson is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at The Florida State University College of Medicine. At the College, he also serves as an affiliate of The Center for Innovative Collaboration in Medicine and Law. He is an affiliate member of the Health Law Division of the Florida Bar, as well as a certified mediator and formally trained arbitrator listed as a neutral with both the American Arbitration Association and American Health Lawyers. Dr. Williamson received a BA from Queens College, an MD from the Medical College of Pennsylvania, and an MJ from Loyola University Chicago.

Dr. Williamson will be speaking on the legal obligations of physicians with respect to vaccination mandates.

John D. Winter, Partner, Patterson Belknap

John Winter has focused his practice on the defense of pharmaceutical and medical device cases. A member of Patterson Belknap since 1990, Mr. Winter has tried or argued the appeal of more than 50 product liability cases in state and federal courts throughout the United States. He has also acted as national counsel for pharmaceutical, consumer product, and medical device manufacturers in consolidated proceedings in state and federal courts. Chambers USA – America’s Leading Lawyers for Business has recognized Mr. Winter as a notable practitioner nationally in the field of product liability and mass torts.

Prior to joining Patterson Belknap, Mr. Winter served as Law Clerk to the Hon. John M. Cannella, U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York. Mr. Winter graduated from the University of Pennsylvania (B.A., cum laude, 1978; M.A., 1978) and Fordham University School of Law (J.D., 1981), where he was Editor-in-Chief, Fordham Urban Law Journal.

Mr. Winter will be speaking on liability for vaccine injuries.

Chizoba Wonodi, Epidemiologist, leader of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Vaccine Access Center’s immunization support efforts in Nigeria

Dr. Chizoba Wonodi is public health physician with over twenty-seven years’ research and program experience in Africa, Asia and America. She serves as the Nigeria Country Director at the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC). In this role, she leads an important portfolio of work on technical assistance, implementation research and policy advocacy to improve immunization service delivery and primary health care systems in the country. She is currently the principal investigator for a Gates Foundation-funded project to improve immunization uptake by sending SMS messages to inform, educate and remind caregivers of their child’s vaccinations. Implemented as a cluster randomized trial, this intervention – the Immunization Reminder and Information SMS System – is intentionally large in scope to demonstrate how innovations like SMS reminders can be taken to scale. In keeping with her focus on public health practice, Dr. Wonodi founded the Women Advocates for Vaccine Access (WAVA), a coalition of Civil Society Organizations in Nigeria advocating for increased uptake of vaccines and for sustainable financing of immunization programs. WAVA serves as the secretariat for the national platform, the Expanded Civil Society Initiative for Immunization (ECSII) in Nigeria. At the global level, Dr. Wonodi holds the vice chair position of the Gavi CSO Platform Steering Committee, a body that coordinates Civil Societies active in immunization.

Todd J. Zywicki, Professor of Law, George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School

Professor Zywicki is George Mason University Foundation Professor of Law at George Mason University Antonin Scalia School of Law, Senior Fellow of the Cato Institute, and former Executive Director of the GMU Law and Economics Center. In 2020-21 he served as the Chair of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Taskforce on Federal Consumer Financial Law. In 2021 he was inducted into the American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers. His teaching areas include Law & Economics and Public Choice and the Law. He has also taught at Vanderbilt University Law School, Georgetown University Law Center, Boston College Law School, Mississippi College School of Law, and China University of Political Science and Law.

Professor Zywicki clerked for Judge Jerry E. Smith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and worked as an associate at Alston & Bird in Atlanta, Georgia, where he practiced bankruptcy and commercial law. He received his JD from the University of Virginia, where he was executive editor of the Virginia Tax Review and John M. Olin Scholar in Law and Economics. Professor Zywicki also received an MA in Economics from Clemson University and an AB cum Laude with high honors in his major from Dartmouth College.