Charity Scott, the Catherine C. Henson Professor of Law, received the Section on Law, Medicine and Health Care Award for excellence in legal education from the Association of American Law Schools (AALS). The award recognizes outstanding contributions of law teachers in community service in health law.
“Professor Scott’s deep and sustained contributions to the development of the field of health law, to teachers of health law, and to the practice of health law are truly extraordinary,” stated the AALS Section on Law, Medicine, and Health Care newsletter announcing her award. “Her service has been defined by continuous efforts to develop health law as its own field of practice among legal and health-related professionals.”
Leslie E. Wolf, professor of law and director for the Center for Law, Health & Society, will accept the award at the 2018 AALS Annual Meeting on behalf of Scott, who will be conducting a training workshop on mindfulness to lawyers at the State Bar of Georgia’s mid-year meeting.
“On behalf of the center, I want to say how delighted we are that AALS has recognized Charity for her many contributions to the profession and the field of health law,” Wolf said.
“This is a wonderful recognition of all Charity’s hard work for others,” said Wendy F. Hensel, dean and professor of law.
Scott’s workshop is a continuation of a “growing collaboration I’ve been engaged with this past year with the State Bar to promote the health and well-being of lawyers and law students,” she said. “And while I sincerely regret not being able to attend the annual AALS Section’s reception, at least it’s a fitting excuse to miss it.”
For more than two decades, Scott has worked to help develop health law-related organizations and bar associations. Driven by her passion for helping improve the health of low-income families and for teaching, Scott was a founding leader in the educational and community outreach project, the Health Law Partnership (HeLP) in 2004, as well as the founding director of the HeLP Legal Services Clinic for law and health-related graduate students.
“No one on the globe has contributed more to the organization and development of health law as field of study and community service,” said Randy Hughes, adjunct professor and Center for Law, Health & Society faculty fellow. “HeLP is a world leader in the health law partnership movement because of the dedication and efforts of Charity, Sylvia Caley and others who worked to establish such an incredible program. I consider Charity one of my heroes.”
In the mid-1990s, Scott was among a small group that collaborated to set up the Health Law Section for the State Bar of Georgia.
“There had long been medical malpractice attorneys and hospital attorneys, but there was a burgeoning new group of attorneys (and professors) across the country who were carving out the health law field in its own right, encompassing growing demand for expertise in the laws and regulations affecting the health care industry as a business,” Scott said. She created and served as editor of the new section’s newsletter, and rose through the leadership ranks to become chair in 1997-98.
Scott also was at the forefront as the American Bar Association developed its Health Law Section in the 1990s, serving in numerous leadership capacities through the years, including her role as vice chair of its EMI Scholarship Committee. In 2012, she created its Task Force on ADR and Conflict Management in Health Care and served as its chair until August 2015.
“Over the years, I’ve been so fortunate to have had some of my passions garner the attention of leading health lawyers, and so have found professional support at the national level for developing medical-legal partnerships across the country, creating innovative professional programming in clinical ethics and health law, and even recently bringing another new (for me) field – alternative dispute resolution and conflict management – to the health law field that I spent my formative professional years helping to develop,” she said.
Scott also donates her talents to nonprofit organizations, such as the American Public Health Association and the American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics (ASLME), of which she is the immediate past president and a board member.
“Charity has been an incredibly important part of the health law field for decades and has been an inspirational figure to everyone associated with ASLME,” said Ted Hutchinson, executive director of ASLME. “She has led for many years a special session at our ‘Health Law Professors’ conference on teaching health law which is, year after year, enormously popular and always filled to capacity. She is unquestionably recognized as the authority on teaching in our field and one of the most beloved and respected figures in our profession.”
“Perhaps the service efforts closest to my heart have been the ones to which I have contributed on an interdisciplinary basis and that have reflected my sincere commitment to improving the health of vulnerable populations though multi-professional collaborations involving not just lawyers, but also doctors and other health care and public health professionals,” Scott said.
Legal academicians need to remain connected to the legal profession, she said. “Working with practicing attorneys in the health law field allowed me to stay on top of the issues that were most pressing and important to them, which made teaching in the field all the more interesting and engaging for me over the years. It also allowed me to stay on the cutting edge of the expansion of the health law field.”