Six rising second-year students have been named recipients of the Law School’s Health Law and Policy Fellowship. Jenny Chung, Lara Glass, Veronica Jackson, Melissa Lee, Peter Travitsky, and Rebecca Vainer will each begin a two-year fellowship beginning this year.
The fellowship is designed for students who have demonstrated academic or professional achievement in health, public health, science, and biotechnology, and who are interested in pursuing legal careers in those fields. The primary focus of each fellow will be to complete a major research project on a legal or policy issue related to medicine, health care, public health, or biotechnology. Each fellow will work closely with at least one faculty member or leading professional on his or her research project.
“We had another year of outstanding candidates with very strong credentials,” said Karen Porter, Associate Professor of Clinical Law and Executive Director of the Center for Health, Science and Public Policy. “We selected the fellows based on their leadership skills, academic credentials, and commitment to public service.”
The fellows were chosen by a Selection Committee comprised of Professor Porter, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Michael Cahill, Professors Adam Kolber and Marsha Garrison, and Adjunct Professors Sal Russo and Elinor Hoffmann.
The six students bring unique perspectives and interests to the Center, and their research areas are as varied as their backgrounds.
Jenny Chung graduated from Boston University with a B.A. in English. Her interests in the health care field began in high school while working as an EMT and developed after college working in insurance as a medical billing manager. Visiting countries like Guatemala sparked her interest in health policy issues relating to pharmaceutical companies and their effects on third world countries, and she is considering this as the topic of her fellowship project. In the fall, she will be interning at NYC’s Health and Hospital Corporation. Chung is a member of the Brooklyn Law Review.
Lara Glass received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University and earned a Masters in Public Health from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. Glass is an evening student, and works full-time for the World Trade Center Health Program, which serves 9/11 first responders. She observed first-hand the practical implications the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 has had on individuals, which has strengthened her interest in health law. Her project will examine policy approaches to improving the nation’s emergency preparedness with respect to public health.
Veronica Jackson graduated from Tufts University with a degree in Economics and Community Health. Prior to law school, she worked as a research assistant at Tufts Medical Center. She first became interested in health law while taking a health economics class that focused on the sustainability and success of health insurance companies, access to health insurance and health care, and the valuation of life. The fragile and increasingly important intersection of these three topics is what led her to BLS and to her interest in the Health Law and Policy Fellowship. Jackson is involved in several activities at the Law School: She is a member of the Brooklyn Journal of Corporate, Financial, and Commercial Law Journal; is a co-chair of the Health Law and Policy Association; a member of BLSPI; Chair of Girls on the Run Brooklyn Law School pro bono project; and a member of the Elder Law pro bono program. She hopes to research the impact of laws and regulations on insurance companies and hospitals and how their effect, in turn, leads to changes in the cost, quality, and access to health care services.
Melissa Lee worked in the advocacy department of Planned Parenthood for six years before attending law school. As a legal intern, she has worked in the Office of the New York City Public Advocate on various policies and initiatives concerning the rise of HIV infections among communities of women of color and, over the summer of 2012, she worked in the Office of the New York State Attorney General on potential barriers to reproductive health care services. She is primarily interested in women's health issues and access to comprehensive health care and will be focusing her research on reproductive and maternal health care policies. In addition to this fellowship, she is a member of the Moot Court Honor Society. She is a graduate of The New School.
Peter Travitsky completed his undergraduate and graduate social work degrees at New York University. Prior to law school, he worked full-time in an agency assisting senior citizens and as a part-time personal care aide to a retired person. Through these experiences, Travitsky discovered a strong connection between the well-being of a community’s senior population and the informed support of a nurturing community. His research will focus on the prevention of questionable or unwanted nursing home placements of seniors. He is working with the Brooklyn Bar Association to launch a Guardianship Pro Bono Project this fall, is a leader in the Elder Law pro bono project, and will serve as a student member of the New York City Bar Legal Problems of the Aging Committee. Peter is an active member of the student organizations, BLSPI and OUTLaws.
Rebecca Vainer graduated from Boston University, where she was an Environmental Analysis and Policy major, with a minor in Public Health. The Health Law and Policy Fellowship immediately sparked her interest because it permitted her to combine her two interests. Vainer’s research will focus on the World Health Organization’s Health and Environment Linkages Initiative (HELI) and the importance of developing countries adopting and enforcing legislation aimed at curtailing environmental threats to health. Her summer internship is at the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.