Lawrence Oglethorpe Gostin is an American law professor who specializes in public health law. He is best known as the author of the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act and as a prolific contributor to journals on medicine and law.
Larry Gostin received his B.A. in psychology from the State University of New York at Brockport in 1971 and his J.D. from Duke University in 1974. He was an adjunct professor at Harvard University from 1986 to 1994 and is (as of 2007) a professor of law at Georgetown University's Law Center and a professor of law and public health at Johns Hopkins University's School of Hygiene and Public Health.
Career in health law
From January 1984 to 1985, Gostin was general secretary of the National Council for Civil Liberties in the United Kingdom. From 1986 to 1994, he was executive director of the American Society for Law, Medicine, and Bioethics. He worked on Hillary Clinton's health plan, serving as chairman of the health information privacy and public health committees of the President's Task Force on Health Care Reform.
Gostin is the Linda D. and Timothy J. O’Neill Professor of Global Health Law at the Georgetown University Law Center, where he directs the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law. He is also Professor of Public Health at the Johns Hopkins University and Director of the Center for Law & the Public’s Health at Johns Hopkins and Georgetown Universities—A Collaborating Center of the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He is Adjunct Professor of Public Health (Faculty of Medical Sciences) and Research Fellow (Centre for Socio-Legal Studies) at Oxford University.
Gostin chairs a World Health Organization project on the law and ethics of public health strategies for pandemic influenza and is leading a drafting team on developing a Model Public Health Law for the World Health Organization.
Awards and honours
In 1994, the Chancellor of the State University of New York conferred an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree. In 2006, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Vice Chancellor awarded Cardiff University’s (Wales) highest honor, an Honorary Fellow. Gostin is an elected lifetime Member of the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences. In 2006, the IOM awarded Gostin the Adam Yarmolinsky Medal. He has received the Rosemary Delbridge Memorial Award from the National Consumer Council (U.K.) for the person “who has most influenced Parliament and government to act for the welfare of society.” He also received the Key to Tohoko University (Japan) for distinguished contributions to human rights in mental health. At the CDC Public Health Law Conference in 2006, he received the Public Health Law Association Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award “in recognition of a career devoted to using law to improve the public’s health.” He is an elected fellow of the Hastings Center, an independent bioethics research institution.
Gostin has published: Public Health Law: Power, Duty, Restraint (University of California Press and Milbank Memorial Fund, 2nd ed. 2008); Public Health Ethics: Theory, Policy and Practice (Oxford University Press, 2007); The AIDS Pandemic: Complacency, Injustice, and Unfulfilled Expectations (University of North Carolina Press, 2004); The Human Rights of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities: Different But Equal (Oxford University Press, 2003); Public Health Law and Ethics: A Reader (University of California Press and Milbank Memorial Fund, 2002).