Health law expert Craig Konnoth will join the faculty


Health law, legal and sexuality expert Craig Konnoth will join the University of Virginia Law School in the fall.

Konnoth is currently a professor of law at the University of Colorado, where he explores health and civil rights issues, as well as health data, in his fellowship. Her work focuses on minority and marginalized communities, while focusing specifically on the LGBT community.

“The focus is on how social movements use medicine to drive broader legal and policy change,” he said.

Dean Risa Goluboff said Konnoth’s research is about the moment we live in.

“Craig’s Health Equity Fellowship is both eternally important and more important now than ever,” Goluboff said. “Craig works at the cutting edge of a cutting-edge field. It is already having an impact on how we think about health and health care, and on the relationship between law and medicine. I know our faculty and students will learn a lot from him and enjoy the discussions we will all have around his work. »

Traditionally, the thought has been that laws are put in place and the field of medicine must follow them, he said. But this approach “behaves as if medicine did not have its own normative logic. This logic can be [and has been] deployed to oppress and discipline minorities, for example, by forcing the sterilization of women of color in the United States”

However, social pressure can change the standards of medicine, which can then change the law, he explained. “My position is that medicine is what we make of it.”

Konnoth was guest editor earlier this year for a symposium on race and health law for Harvard Law School’s Petrie Flom Center, and presented his work on minorities and medicine at a session joint event organized by Harvard Law and Medical Schools that focused on issues arising from medical oppression.

His most recently published article, “Medicalization and the New Civil Rights,” appeared last year in the Stanford Law Review. The article aims to “define and defend” the concept of “medical civil rights”, in which individuals have advanced civil rights claims that draw on the language of medicine. One example, he said, is states applying Medicaid funds to help solve homelessness, linking homelessness to medical outcomes. Konnoth believes that authorities should monitor effects on social and economic health outcomes with the same level of interest as pharmaceutical outcomes, thus looking at the overall health and well-being of subgroups and individuals. .

Activism around gender dysphoria – the distress caused by not identifying with the sex assigned at birth – is another area of ​​medical rights activism and is among the issues Konnoth teaches and teaches about. writing. With children, the legal struggle is often one that sometimes pits the preferences of parents or doctors against the child’s lack of agency and the need to grow as an individual.

Konnoth co-authored the article “Ethical Issues in Gender Affirming Care” in the journal Pediatrics in 2018. The article recommends creating a registry that can track the outcomes of treatment options for children with gender dysphoria in order to indicate the best solutions for their care. . He also wants to know if gender dysphoria should be covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act and if sex reassignment surgery should be allowed as a medical expense write-off under the tax code.

Besides health and civil rights, Konnoth also specializes in health data regulation. Her 2017 paper, “Health Information Equity,” was published in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review and received the 2018 Privacy Papers for Policy Makers Award. Upon accepting the award, Konnoth was invited to address policy makers in the United States Senate building. His most recent work on health data regulation examines issues of federalism and privatization in health data regulation, and will be published in the Boston University Law Review. Another article develops a broader theory of federalism and privatization and will appear in the Harvard Law Review.

In addition to his teaching and writing interests, Konnoth is the inaugural faculty director of the Health Data and Technology Initiative at the Silicon Flatirons Center in Colorado. In this capacity, he has hosted conferences and panels with high-level policymakers, academics, doctors and activists examining the role of data regulation, including, last year, panels that are focused on data regulation in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Professor Margaret Foster Riley, whose fellowship focuses on health law and bioethics, among other topics, joined the dean and fellow faculty members in welcoming Konnoth.

“We are extremely excited to have Craig Konnoth join our faculty,” said Riley. “His work in health law, bioethics and privacy covers many of the most pressing issues facing us today. Her recent Medical Civil Rights Scholarship, which focuses on gender, sexuality, and race, offers new insights and solutions to address the persistent health disparities thrown into sharper relief by the current global crisis. COVID.

Konnoth also directs the health law certificate program in Colorado. The program was started by AVU law alumna Dayna Bowen Matthew ’87, who was responsible for a number of health law initiatives at the university before coming to teach at AVU. She is now the Dean of Law at George Washington University.

Prior to joining Colorado, Konnoth served as Deputy Solicitor General in the California Department of Justice, where his role primarily involved cases before the United States Supreme Court, as well as the California Supreme Court and the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals.

He was a fellow at the Williams Institute at UCLA Law School before articling, and most recently at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law and the University of New York.

He earned his JD from Yale Law School and an M.Phil. from the University of Cambridge. He clerked for Judge Margaret McKeown of the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals.

While in law school, Konnoth helped coordinate an effort to reach out to LGBT law students in need of support through the student division of the National LGBT Bar Association — a “first,” he said, to unify law student LGBT groups across the country under one umbrella. . He said the effort has also helped students in smaller schools, especially in the South, feel less alone.

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