ATLANTA—Georgia State Law’s health law program, ranked second in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, was well represented at the 21st annual conference on the Fundamentals of Health Care Law. The program is co-sponsored each year by the State Bar of Georgia’s Health Law Section and the Georgia Academy of Healthcare Attorneys, which are the leading professional societies in Georgia for health law attorneys.
Charity Scott, Catherine C. Henson Professor of Law, gave the plenary talk during the luncheon at the day-long event. She was invited as a part of the “Legends of Georgia Healthcare Law” series to discuss the evolution of health law education in Georgia during her over-30 years at the College of Law.
“When I started in 1987, it was just me teaching a single survey course on health law,” said Scott. “Since that time, health law and the health care industry have gone through extraordinary changes and expansions. We have learned from and partnered with both health lawyers and health care professionals across our community to ensure that our program was always timely and relevant.”
Scott noted that the health law program did not evolve in one smooth, linear path over the years. “It was a journey consisting of equal parts of serious challenges and great opportunities,” Scott said. Today, the health law program has a dozen highly acclaimed health law faculty. Among its many offerings are dozens of health law courses, a certificate in health law for JD students, a health law LLM program for lawyers, two dual-degree programs (with public health and health administration), and an interdisciplinary clinic where law and medical students collaborate to address the many socioeconomic and environmental conditions that can adversely impact the health of low-income children and their families.
Several health law graduates spoke at the conference, including Brian McEvoy (JD ‘97) on the criminal side of health law and Charlotte Combre (JD ‘97) on federal health care regulations. Brittany Cone (JD ’08) spoke on long-term health care and said, “I wish I had attended this course as a student at Georgia State Law. This conference is a great overview of many of the topics that health care attorneys face on a day-to-day basis. It’s a chance for professionals and students alike to interact one-on-one with great resources in the practice.”
Jasmine Becerra (JD expected ’19), a current health law student, agreed. “Attending this conference allowed me to expand on the concepts I learned in lecture and see how they apply to real-life problems that health care attorneys are solving,” Becerra said. “Attending events like this has allowed me to learn from and network with experts in the field.”
This sentiment was echoed by part-time law student Drew Seibert, MD (JD expected ’21), who was a practicing gastroenterologist before coming to law school “I was particularly interested in getting to know about certificate-of-need regulations,” Siebert said. “It certainly would have been good to know about this 15 years ago when I was trying to set up our endoscopy center. I would have been able to understand what some of our legal team was telling us!”
Kathy (Jarman) Benoit (JD, ’88), who attended the conference, had taken Scott’s first health law course in 1987. Reflecting on the trajectory of the health program over the years, Scott said, “It’s truly wonderful to have been present for our incredible growth. And it is an honor today to see one of my very first students, our many graduates over the decades, and our current students all come together at this annual event and contribute to building this vibrant health law field.”