Epstein Health Law and Policy

The Epstein Health Law and Policy Program promotes cutting-edge research, policy analysis, and public service/public engagement on critical issues in health care; fosters collaboration between scholars focused on health law and policy; and facilitates collaboration among government leaders, practitioners, and academic researchers on issues of increasing complexity. The Program faculty partner with other universities, both domestic and abroad, on a variety of research projects. 

The Program has established partnerships with various units on the Urbana-Champaign campus, including the College of Medicine, the Department of Community Health, and the Institute of Government and Public Affairs for various research and public service projects.


  • David Hyman - H. Ross & Helen Workman Chair in Law
  • Robin Fretwell Wilson - Roger and Stephany Joslin Professor of Law, Professor in the Department of Pathology at the College of Medicine (pending Board approval)

Affiliated Faculty

Student Organizations and Activities

  • Elder Law Society
  • Family Law Society
  • Health Law Society
  • Loyola Transactional Moot Court Team 2016 (Amanda Ray, Sarah Ahmed, and Daniel Walbright; coached by Kurt Leifheit of Carle)

Network Affiliations

  • International Academy of Medical Ethics and Public Health (news story)

Health Law and Policy Conversation Series

The Health Law and Policy Conversation Series explores timely and pressing issues affecting healthcare and its delivery.

  • Josh Blackman, Associate Professor of Law at the Houston College of Law (November 15, 2016) - Blackman will discuss his forthcoming book, Unraveled: Obamacare, Religious Liberty, and Executive Power, which has received favorable reviews from people across the ideological spectrum.  Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of the University of California Irvine School of Law said: "Josh Blackman has written a thorough and engaging account of the political and legal issues surrounding Obamacare. This book is a must-read for all who are interested in the history of the Obama presidency and especially of its most important legislative accomplishment."
  • Michael T. McRaith, Director of the Federal Insurance Office (FIO) (October 25, 2016) - As director of FIO, McRaith advises the secretary on domestic and prudential international insurance matters of importance. FIO monitors all aspects of the insurance sector, including access to affordable insurance for traditionally underserved communities and consumers, minorities and low- and moderate-income persons.
  • “How Advanced Care Planning Can Improve Care” presented by Bernard Hammes, director of Respecting Choices (October 14, 2015) - Hammes discussed the need for a proactive approach to painful issues around death. The event is co-sponsored by University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign.
  • The 2015 Inaugural Conversation with the Author: Paul A. Offit, MD - "Bad Faith: When Religious Belief Undermines Modern Medicine" (April 6, 2015) - Offit examined the costs of religious exemptions to medical neglect laws. 

Roundtable Discussions on Pressing Questions in Health Care

The Roundtable Discussions on Pressing Questions in Health Care is a series of collaborative conversations with faculty around the country. The first roundtable will be co-convened with Michele Bratcher Goodwin (Chancellor’s Professor of Law at University of California, Irvine and founder of The Institute for Global Child Advocacy) in January 2017 and will discuss questions of religious conscience and access to healthcare.

Breakfast with Practitioners and Decision-makers

The Epstein Health Law and Policy Program provides tangible opportunities for students to intersect with health law practitioners and policymakers. 

  • Breakfast with Michael T. McRaith, Director of the Federal Insurance Office (FIO) (October 25, 2016)
  • Breakfast with Fazal Khan, JD, MD, Associate Professor of Law, University of Georgia School of Law 

New Perspectives on Health Policy: Annual Symposium

The New Perspectives on Health Policy Annual Conferences explore pressing issues in health policy, with the goal of making enduring, tangible contributions to our understanding of health care law and policy.

  • The 2017 New Perspectives on Health Policy Symposium will address The Medicalization of PovertyThis symposium will be co-sponsored by the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois and the University of Virginia School of Medicine Center for Biomedical Ethics and Humanities.
  • The Inaugural New Perspectives on Health Policy Symposium on September 10, 2015 examined "Law, Religion and the Family Unit After Hobby Lobby," and was co-sponsored with the Family Law and Policy Program and Depaul University.  The Symposium featured presentations on challenges to the contraceptive coverage mandate under the Affordable Care Act, state circumcision restrictions, end-of-life decisionmaking and other points of contact between religious values and medical choices. The featured presentations included:
    • Professor Elizabeth Sepper, Associate Professor of Law, Washington University School of Law, who spoke on “The Risky Business of RFRAs After Hobby Lobby & Zubik”
    • Professor Michael Helfand, Associate Professor of Law, Pepperdine University School of Law, and Associate Director, Diane and Guilford Glazer Institute for Jewish Studies, on “The Future of Religious Liberty in the Wake of Hobby Lobby & Zubik,”
    • Gregory Lipper, Litigation Counsel at Clinton Brook & Peed and formerly Senior Counsel for Americans United for Separation of Church and State,  on “The Contraceptive-Coverage Cases and the Problem of Politicized Free-Exercise Lawsuits,”
    • Professor Michele Bratcher Goodwin, Chancellor’s Professor of Law, University of California, Irvine, and Founder, The Institute for Global Child Advocacy, on “Constitutional Hierarchies,”
    • Eric Rassbach, Deputy General Counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, on “Coming Soon to a Court Near You: Religious Male Circumcision,”
    • Professor Jim Dwyer, Arthur B. Hanson Professor of Law, William & Mary Law School, on “The Easiest Accommodation: Abandoning Other People’s Children to Their Parents’ Religious Views,”
    • Professor Richard L. Kaplan, Peer and Sarah Pedersen Professor of Law, University of Illinois College of Law, on “ Religion and Advance Medical Directives,”
    • Naomi Cahn, Harold H. Greene Professor of Law, George Washington University Law School & Reverend Amy Ziettlow, Affiliate Scholar, Institute for American Values, Writer for The Huffington Post, on “Personal Religious Identity at the End of Life.” 

The University of Illinois Law Review published papers from the symposium. In addition, a new edited collection, The Contested Place of Religion In Family Law (Robin Fretwell Wilson, ed.) under final consideration by Cambridge University Press, explores the limits of religious claims in the healthcare and family setting.