Category Archives: Chronic illness

Jul 29 2013
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‘Scholars in Residence’: A Q&A with Mary Crossley

Mary Crossley, Professor of Law and former Dean at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law Mary Crossley, Professor of Law and former Dean at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law

The recently launched Scholars in Residence fellowship program was created to place legal experts in public health agencies across the country—where together they can find new solutions to public health problems. The program, from Network for Public Health Law and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has chosen six scholars to work with local and state health agencies.

NewPublicHealth spoke with Mary Crossley, Professor of Law and former Dean at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, who will help California health officials identify new ways to address the growing issue of chronic diseases.

NewPublicHealth: Tell me about your career path, and how you came to be interested in public health.

Mary Crossley:  I have a career in law teaching and scholarship, but my focus has been—in both my teaching and my scholarship—on health law. Particularly in my scholarship I’m focusing on issues of inequality in healthcare; finance and delivery; and how the law responds to those inequalities—and in many cases fails to respond. So, it’s really been through an interest in thinking about other ways to approach inequity in health and healthcare that I have become more interested in public health and public health law as a mechanism to address it. I also started doing some lecturing and writing that looks at the intersection between the civil rights to inequality in health and a public health approach.

NPH: Did you apply for this or did they come and find you and ask you to take on the position?

Crossley: I applied for it. They put out requests for applications back in the fall, and it was targeted specifically to tenured law professors. And in fact what I learned in talking to the folks involved in the program was that they were particularly interested in getting folks who didn’t necessarily have a long history of involvement in public health, but instead saw this as a way of bringing new people into the discussion and engaging larger numbers of legal academics in teaching and thinking and writing about the intersection of public health and law.

NPH: Where are you going to be working?

Crossley: Part of the application process was finding a public health agency with which I would like to work and which was willing to work with me to support my application, and I ended up partnering with the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

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