Monthly Archives: March 2013

Parental Refusal of Childhood Vaccinations: Trends, Consequences, and Legal Policy Responses

Over the past several years more parents have opted not to provide their children with immunizations recommended by federal authorities and otherwise required by state authorities.  At the same time, outbreaks of some vaccine-preventable diseases have become more common, and public health concerns that disappeared decades ago have returned.  This panel describes the challenges the anti-vaccine movement poses and examines the role of law in protecting public health while respecting the rights of parents and children.   Is there a way to recognize deeply held religious, philosophical and political views of parents while still protecting public health?  What factors should determine public policy on childhood immunization?

About the Speakers:

Brian Lee, MD, FAAP is the Co-Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases and the Director of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program at the Children's Hospital and Research Center in Oakland

Dorit R. Reiss, LLB, PhD 
is a Professor of Law at UC Hastings

Robert Schwartz, JD is a Professor of Law at the University of New Mexico and a Visiting Professor of Law at UC Hastings

Lois Weithorn, JD, PhD is a Professor of Law at UC Hastings

More than Same Sex Marriage: Law, Health, and Defining Family

Keynote SpeakerKaren Thompson

Legal CommentatorKate Kendell, JD, Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights

Medical CommentatorEric Widera, MD, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at UCSF, Director of the Hospice & Palliative Care Service at the San Francisco VA Medical Center,  Program Director for the Geriatrics Fellowship at UCSF

About the Keynote Speaker: Karen Thompson retired after 36 years as a professor at St. Cloud State University. She gained national recognition following the November 13, 1983 car accident of her partner Sharon Kowalski.  Sharon sustained a traumatic brain injury after a drunk driver hit her car.  Following the accident, Sharon’s biological family refused to acknowledge or accept Sharon’s relationship with Karen and kept them apart for more than 3 ½ years.

As a result of these actions, Karen came out and began her nearly decade long legal battle for guardianship and for Sharon’s right to come home.  She spoke across the country not just to tell the story of her fight for Sharon to move home, but also to raise awareness for legal protection for lesbian and gay relationships.

Co-SponsorsUCSF/UC Hastings Consortium on Law, Science & Health Policy, UC Hastings Faculty Colloquium Series,OUTLAW Student Organization


Update: This event was recorded and part 1 can be found here.