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Two Penn Law Students embody Interdisciplinary Health Law Program. Penn Laws integration of degrees and disciplines is a really big plus here.
SKILL SHARPENER 1. 800. 973.1177 Two Penn Law Students Embody Interdisciplinary Health Law Program [by Erica Winter] Some students think that getting a J.D. is tough--and they’re right. All law students work hard. Some students, however, never seem to get enough. Holly Fernandez and Cobin Stoelberg could Fernandez’s article, “Genetic Privacy, Penn Law “makes it easy for law students be said to be in the latter group. Both are Abandonment, and DNA Dragnets: Is Fourth to get their master’s,” says Stoelberg. The second-year law students at the University Amendment Jurisprudence Adequate?” bioethics degree is “a wonderful program.” of Pennsylvania, and both are concentrating examines whether people can have a reason- Stoelberg was drawn to Penn Law and its in health law--an area of study that, at Penn able expectation of privacy for their own DNA joint degree program after discovering Art Law, fosters multitasking. and genetic material and whether material Kaplan’s writing while a philosophy major at that is left behind can be considered “aban- the University of Utah. “Seeing hurdles that Stoelberg has completed two years of medi- doned,” and therefore not private. doctors face in hospitals” while in medical cal school at the University of Utah. He has school sealed his goals, he says. taken a leave of absence before he finishes This question is a “huge problem,” says his third year of med-school classroom work Fernandez. Because the issue has not been Before starting at law school, Stoelberg to get a J.D. from Penn Law and a master’s adjudicated, there is no reason now to says he “did not understand the depth and degree in bioethics (MBE) as well. expect privacy, and thus legislation would be breadth” of the field of health law. It is not needed to adequately address the issue, says only healthcare fraud, payer issues, and Fernandez turned down Harvard Law to stay Fernandez. “It is impossible to not leave DNA malpractice lawsuits, but also regulation, at Penn, her undergraduate alma mater, so around” everywhere we go, but without the intellectual property, and contracts issues, she could also receive her MBE along with expectation of genetic privacy, people might he says. her J.D. end up wanting to walk around in some sort of bubble. Doctors, says Stoelberg, confront many Fernandez and Stoelberg are not unusual bioethical issues in their work, including at Penn Law, where students can take four Fernandez applied to the bioethics program death/end-of-life care; duty-to-treat issues, elective courses at other parts of the univer- when she applied to Penn Law but did not physician-assisted suicide; and access to sity while in law school. Many who are focus- start classes for the MBE until her second healthcare for the uninsured. ing their study on health law like Fernandez year. Many in the program apply during their and Stoelberg use these electives towards a first year in law school; the MBE takes two This coming summer, Stoelberg is consider- joint degree, usually in bioethics, through the years to complete. ing possibly working at the Department of Bioethics Center, or in business, through the Health and Human Services’ Office of the Wharton School of Business at Penn. Despite some advice to choose Harvard Law, Inspector General or one of the larger Phila- Fernandez says she “was really happy that I delphia law firms. He would like to see what Among other issues, privacy is one legal chose Penn in the end.” Penn Law’s integra- law firm life is like, yet his ultimate plan is to question that draws Fernandez to bioethics, tion of degrees and disciplines is “a really big finish his medical degree. “I am more drawn she says. While fulfilling Penn’s pro bono plus here,” she adds. to practicing medicine,” he says. service requirement, Fernandez worked with Dr. Art Kaplan, the head of Penn’s Bioethics Because she would like to do regulatory work With his joint degree from Penn, however, Center and an expert in the field. She as- after graduation, this coming summer Fer- Stoelberg will choose a specialty (such as sisted him in his work regarding genetic pri- nandez will work at the Washington, DC, firm internal medicine or emergency medicine) vacy issues. Her work with Dr. Kaplan led to Hogan & Hartson. Regulatory work is the that also allows him to have the time to help her writing an article that will be published in closest intersection of law and bioethics she shape national healthcare policy. the January/February issue of the Hastings would find at a law firm, says Fernandez. Center Report, a leading bioethics journal. PAGE 1
"Two Penn Law Students Embody Interdisciplinary Health Law Program"