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Global Health Forum

March 7, 2023

Our Conversation with Professor of Practice Emeritus Tim Westmoreland Blog Post

by Sylvie Bissell (H’26)

Before our conversation with Tim Westmoreland, a professor of practice emeritus at Georgetown Law, I was one of many people who did not fully understand the study or practice of health law. Professor Westmoreland received his Juris Doctorate from Yale Law School during a time when health care law was just beginning to emerge as a field. Instead of taking the bar exam, Professor Westmoreland used his knowledge of health care law to shape legislation as counsel to a subcommittee on health and the environment, becoming the lead staffer for health policy in the U.S. House of Representatives for 13 years. He demonstrated to our Conversations in Health: Global to Local class that a law degree can be an extremely powerful tool for influencing health care. This was evident in his numerous successes while working on the Hill, including his work on the Affordable Care Act during the Obama administration.

March 6, 2023

A Conversation with Tim Westmoreland Blog Post

by Colin Cox (C’26)

On February 21 our class had the privilege of hearing Tim Westmoreland, a professor of practice emeritus at Georgetown Law, speak on his experience in the federal government helping to shape health care policy. He shared with us how growing up with parents that worked in a tuberculosis sanitarium formed his desire be involved in the health care system. This inspired him to do health law, but the field was undeveloped when he went to law school. Now it is a burgeoning field in the legal world with many subfields. However, at the time he graduated from law school, Professor Westmoreland could not find any significant firms dedicated to health law. It was actually by a very lucky coincidence that a committee in the U.S. House of Representatives was being organized, requiring experts in health law. Professor Westmoreland described this as being a very rare occurrence. He then shared the usefulness of getting a J.D., saying that it frequently opens doors to career opportunities in a wide variety of jobs outside of just practicing law. Especially for those interested in health policy, going to law school for only three years might be more financially advantageous as well as time-saving over pursuing an M.D. and becoming a physician.