Members of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School will be key co-investigators with colleagues at Harvard Medical School and other parts of the University to help usher the National Football League (NFL) into a safer and more responsible future, said HLS Assistant Professor of Law I. Glenn Cohen, faculty co-director of the Center.
Cohen, who is one of this year's Fellows of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, will be a co-investigator on the 10-year project along with Holly Fernandez Lynch, the Center's executive director.
The project, which will be known as the Harvard Integrated Program to Protect and Improve the Health of NFLPA Members, was announced on Jan. 28 by Harvard Medical School and the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA).
"Holly and I will be assuming leadership over one of the six aims of the project, the one that will address the ethical, legal and policy issues relevant to the health and health care of current, future, and retired players," said Cohen. "We will begin the 10-year project by conducting 'listening tours' in collaboration with the NFLPA, where we will get current and retired NFL players and their families to help us shape the agenda for our legal and ethical analysis. We will also be involving our students and colleagues at HLS and across the university in trying to wrestle with some of the thorniest legal and ethical issues involved, including: the appropriate role of players and teams in the management and employment and accreditation of team doctors and other medical staff, the privacy of players' medical information and the ethical development of testing for injury, and liability and compensation for injured players. I feel privileged that the players will be entrusting us and the rest of the team with this vital responsibility."
Cohen and Lynch will also serve as ethics consultants for the entire project, to help ensure that the clinical research is performed according to the appropriate ethical standards.
Said Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow: "I am delighted and proud that the Petrie-Flom Center will be working with Harvard Medical School and others across the University on this extraordinary and much-needed project, and I am confident that together they will do something important for football, its players, and the country."
Appointed to the Harvard Law School faculty in 2008, Cohen teaches courses in bioethics, health law, and Civil Procedure. His current projects relate to reproduction/reproductive technology and medical tourism—the legal and ethical issues related to travel of patients who are residents of one country to another country for medical treatment. In 2012, he was selected as a Greenwall Foundation faculty scholar in bioethics.
Cohen's award-winning academic work has appeared in a number of academic journals, including the Harvard Journal of Law and Negotiation, the Harvard Journal of Law and Technology, the New England Journal of Medicine, the American Journal of Public Health, the American Journal of Bioethics, the Food and Drug Law Journal, the Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics, the Hastings Center Report and law review journals for Stanford, Southern California, Minnesota, Iowa and Hastings Law.
Founded in 2005 through a gift from Joseph H. Flom '48 and the Petrie Foundation, the Petrie-Flom Center is an interdisciplinary research program at HLS that is dedicated to scholarly research at the intersection of law and health policy, including issues of health care financing and market regulation, biomedical research and bioethics. For more information, visit the Center's website and blog.