Global Healthcare Governance Conference Header
The Future of Global Healthcare Governance
Monday, January 25, 2021
10:00 a.m.-4:15 p.m.
University of Georgia School of Law
Sponsored by
Dean Rusk International Law Center, University of Georgia School of Law
Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law
Health Law Society, University of Georgia School of Law
International Law Society, University of Georgia School of Law
University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Georgia School of Public and International Affairs
University of Georgia School of Social Work

Historically localized pathogens are now crossing continents as more people and goods travel and ecosystems change; as a result, new populations of people and animals are being exposed to new infectious agents. Globalization and the effects of climate change, both of which have been accelerating since the mid-1900s, have increased the frequency, intensity, and transcontinental nature of epidemic-prone infectious diseases, such as H1N1, Zika, Ebola, and COVID-19. The increasingly borderless nature of these outbreaks means that there is an increase in the number of stakeholders who will benefit from an internationally-coordinated response to public health emergencies. This necessitates a reexamination and a reimagination of the legal frameworks--local, national, and international--that govern our response to global pandemics.

In 2003, an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) spread across more than two dozen countries throughout North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. This event highlighted how rapidly local public health concerns could become global. It also prompted the global community to act. The World Health Organization (WHO) developed an early response system, considered what a global response to future transnational epidemics could and should look like, and identified how to better contain the outbreak at the source. For the first time, an official status was designated for these epidemics-- public health emergencies of international concern (PHEICs)-- enabling the disbursement of emergency funding to countries affected by the PHEIC. Despite these systems and protocol, the next wave of PHEICs--H1N1, Zika, Ebola, and COVID-19-- revealed the international community's inability to coordinate a response in a timely manner.

The emergence and spread of COVID-19 in January 2020 highlight the urgency of a radical reimagination of local, national, and international structures used to respond to global public health emergencies. As of August 2020, 8 months after the first known death of the virus was reported in China, COVID-19 has spread to 177 countries, killing 610,200 and sickening 14.7 million individuals. The World Bank predicts that the global economy will shrink by 5.2% this year, the deepest recession since World War II, with the largest number of economies experiencing declines in per capita output since 1870.

This conference will address three crucial questions of global health governance. It will consider, first, whether and how the ailing global public health infrastructure might be reinvigorated; second, how the pandemic has threatened and exposed limitations of the social safety net in the United States and other economies around the world; and, finally, the phenomenon of vaccine refusal and what national and international legal institutions might do to curb it.

The Dean Rusk International Law Center and the Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law at the University of Georgia School of Law will host a daylong, virtual conference to explore these developments on Monday, January 25, 2021. The conference will feature a keynote speech. Experts from academia and the practice will present on panels. Presentations will be published in the Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law.

All sessions take place remotely via Zoom.
Monday, 25 January
10:00-10:10 Welcome
Peter B. "Bo" Rutledge | University of Georgia School of Law
10:10-10:30 Introduction
Elizabeth Weeks | University of Georgia School of Law
10:30-11:30 The Role of International Organizations in Global Health Governance
Why did the global public health community fail to respond adequately to COVID-19, and what changes are needed for this network to better address future pandemics?
Thomas J. Bollyky | Council on Foreign Relations
Benjamin Mason Meier | University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
Alexandra Phelan | Georgetown University Center for Global Health Science and Security
Pedro Villarreal | Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law
Alicia Yamin | Harvard Law School
Moderator ? Fazal Khan | University of Georgia School of Law
11:30-11:45 | Panel 1 Breakout Rooms
11:45-12:45 | Break
12:45-1:45 | The Role of Federal Governments in Pandemics
How can governments design social safety nets to reduce the individual, societal, and global impact of a pandemic?
Christina S. Ho | Rutgers Law School
Ren?e M. Landers | Suffolk University Law School
Gwendolyn Roberts Majette | Cleveland-Marshall College of Law
Wendy Parmet | Northeastern University School of Law
Moderator ? Elizabeth Weeks | University of Georgia School of Law
1:45-2:00 | Panel 2 Breakout Rooms
2:00-3:00 | The Global Campaign for the Collective Good
How can governments, organizations, and the law maximize vaccine acceptance?
Shawn Harmon | Dalhousie University
Glen Nowak | University of Georgia
Saad Omer | Yale School of Medicine
Dorit Reiss | UC Hastings Law
Moderator ? Hillel Y. Levin | University of Georgia School of Law
3:00-3:30 | Panel 3 Breakout Rooms
3:30-4:00 | Keynote Address
Marice Ashe | ChangeLab Solutions
4:00-4:15 | Closing Statements
Editor-in-Chief, Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law


The University of Georgia School of Law is committed to providing reasonable access and accommodations for people with disabilities upon request. For questions about accessibility or to request accommodations, contact Casey Graham at or 706-542-5167 at least three business days prior to the event.