Leslie Wolf Named Distinguished University Professor

Leslie E. Wolf, professor of law and director of the Center for Law, Health & Society, was among the five Georgia State University faculty to receive a Distinguished University Professorship in 2018. This prestigious honor recognizes faculty who have an outstanding record of scholarship, as well as a history of substantial contributions to the University and profession. Wolf’s five-year appointment began July 1.

“I am thrilled to be named as a Distinguished University Professor and I am grateful to have my contributions as a scholar and a teacher recognized through this award,” Wolf said.

Wolf is an internationally recognized scholar of health law, public health and ethics. Numerous federal agencies and private foundations have funded her work, which includes empirical research on conflicts of interest, research with stored biological materials, IRB web guidance, and HIV-related laws and policies, among other areas. Her research has appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, the JAMA family of publications, Science and the American Journal of Public Health.

“Professor Wolf demonstrates exemplary scholarship and brings tremendous value to our University and our students. We are thrilled that she has been recognized with this esteemed honor, and it is well deserved,” said Wendy F. Hensel, dean and professor of law.

Since joining Georgia State Law, Wolf’s empirical research has focused on research ethics issues, including a project on Certificates of Confidentiality – a legal tool that protects sensitive, identifiable research data from compelled disclosure and a project on confidentiality protections of research data, more generally. She has partnered with Laura Beskow, professor of health policy and Director of Research Ethics, at Vanderbilt Center for Biomedical Ethics & Society, on both projects, which the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded.

“Our work on Certificates substantially contributed to the understanding of this legal tool, and some of our recommendations for improvement were incorporated into the revisions to Certificates as part of the 21st Century Cures Act,” Wolf said. “This, and other projects have provided opportunities for students. For example,  I have co-authored several papers with students, including one out of the Certificates project with Brett Williams Tarver (J.D. ’12), a former graduate research assistant. We presented the paper at Harvard Law School.”

When reflecting on her numerous academic achievements, two stand out to Wolf. In 2016, she was the first lawyer inducted into the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars, which honors people who spent formative parts of their careers there. In 2017, she was appointed to the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Human Research Protections, which advises the Department of Health and Human Services’ Secretary on issues pertaining to the protection of human subjects in research. She is also grateful to be a part of the Georgia State faculty.

“I feel extremely fortunate to be part of a university that truly values interdisciplinary work. My scholarship mostly is not traditional legal scholarship, but Georgia State Law and the larger university community has been supportive. The potential for collaborations in teaching and scholarship across colleges is enormous,” Wolf said.