Thursday, January 25, 2001 Volume 66, Issue 82



New director aims to widen scope of health 
law center 

Bobinski wants to improve technology and reach the community 

Juliana Coutinho
Daily Cougar Staff

The new year brought a new director to the UH Law Center's Health Law and Policy Institute, one of the top health law institutes in the nation.

Mary Anne Bobinski, who moved to Houston 11 years ago to join the faculty of the institute, said her first action in the post will be to try to expand its reach to the general community, a pioneer idea for the institute.

Bobinski, the first woman ever to direct the institute, said she is looking forward to the future.

"Health law is a really exciting area of law to be studying and learning about," she said. "The next 10 years we will see more development in health care that will require more care and response from lawyers and government officials."

The duties of the director include developing and overseeing the curriculum, directing the research projects, and other public service components.

"We hope to be able to make a contribution and helping society determine how to react when an issue comes up (in the law)," she said.

The institute was founded in the 1980s to facilitate the development of courses and research projects and the newly emerging intersection between law, public policy and medicine, Bobinski said.

The center offers courses that include a look at government regulations and social policies, she said.

The government, in fact, is the institute's largest customer. The institute conducts research on health law and policies when requested by the Texas Legislature.

Currently, the institute is researching telemedicine for the Legislature, Bobinski said.

"Advances in technology is making it possible to use Web cameras and the Internet to do diagnosis and sometimes even treatment," she said.

The Legislature is studying laws and regulations on that kind of service in regards to insurance, license to perform medicine and how to provide technology to isolated counties.

For 2001, the institute and the Texas Children's Hospital are planning on developing Child Health Insurance Law Drive which will involve volunteer students and lawyers who will register children for health insurance.

The public service arena is another area Bobinski wants to develop.

"We've affected the public indirectly," she said, referring to the work with hospitals and the legislatures. "We now want to do grassroots work."

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