In 2005, with a generous gift from Joseph H. Flom ’48 and the Petrie Foundation, the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics was founded to respond to the need for leading legal scholarship in these fields.
At this time there exists a pressing need for such scholarship. Although health care consumes 15% of U.S. GDP, and probably an even greater share of legal practice in this country, it receives hardly any attention from the legal academy. As a result, the laws and regulations affecting health care, medical technology, and the practice of medicine have developed with little or no input from leading legal scholars. The aim of the Petrie-Flom Center is to correct this problem. The Center promotes interdisciplinary analysis of the legal issues affecting health care, biotechnology and bioethics. Through that interdisciplinary focus, the Center produces scholarship that offers creative and promising solutions to some of the most vexing problems in these areas.
The future promises to raise new and fascinating issues that will make these interdisciplinary inquiries all the more important. Advances in genetics, technology, and biotechnology are pushing the boundaries of existing thinking on everything from what defines a human life to what constitutes an ethically tenable area of research, as well as raising complex issues about the appropriate role of intellectual property in this area. At the same time, the transformations in health care financing and business practices, changes in the role of health law, and the growing realization that the environment has a direct link to human health have upset traditional professional and market paradigms.
The founding vision of the Petrie-Flom Center is to promote scholarly inquiry that breaks away from existing disciplinary lines and brings the totality of these disciplinary methodologies under its compass. To achieve this goal, the Center fosters the growth of a community of leading intellectuals from a variety of backgrounds and at all stages in their careers. This environment created by the Center will produce scholarship that addresses the true legal, social and ethical challenges presented by issues at the intersection of health and law. The Center is not an advocacy center, but is dedicated to the non-partisan promotion of important new ideas and empirical findings.
Joseph H. Flom '48
Founding Benefactor of the Petrie-Flom Center