Annual Symposium on Health Law & Policy


The Medicalization of Poverty Symposium aims to bring together experts in medicine, law, policy, and ethics to explore the connection between poverty, disease burden, and healthcare expenditures. It is well documented that a number of diseases are strongly linked to poverty, and poverty is a strong predictor of health status. But a second aspect of poverty is less well-explored—that we have medicalized poverty. We spend inordinate amounts of money and other resources to address healthcare needs brought on by poverty instead of providing for the tangible needs of the poor before illness strikes. We treat the symptom, not the problem. This gathering is to consider “How can we do better? And what role can law and policy play?”

Keynotes by:

  • Foundation Day, Nov. 2, 2017 - Dr. James Heckman, Nobel laureate and economist from the University of Chicago

  • Foundation Day, Nov. 2, 2017 – Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti, Lieutenant Governor of Illinois

  • Scholars Workshop, Nov. 3, 2017 – Governor Tommy Thompson, Former Secretary of Health & Human Services and Governor of Wisconsin

  • Scholars Workshop, Nov. 3, 2017 – Commissioner Marissa Levine, Virginia Department of Health

Scholars Workshop papers to appear in symposium issue of JOURNAL OF LAW, MEDICINE & ETHICS in 2018, edited by Professor Wilson and UVA Professor Lois Shepherd.

Cosponsored jointly by the Epstein Health Law and Policy Program and

  • the Carle health system,

  • the University of Virginia Department of Public Health Sciences,

  • the University of Virginia School of Medicine Center for Biomedical Ethics and Humanities,

  • the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,

  • the College of Business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,

  • the Carle Illinois College of Medicine, and

  • MedAxiom.