As director of the Network for Public Health Law-Eastern Region, Kathleen Hoke, J.D., draws on her 12 years of experience as director of the Legal Resource Center for Public Health Policy at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law, a position she continues to hold. Since 2002, Kathleen has directed the Center, working with state and local health officials and legislators on developing and implementing tobacco control, obesity prevention and injury prevention policy. Through her membership in the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium, Kathleen contributes to the national discussion on tobacco regulation and has authored legal synopses published by TCLC and filed petitions with the Food and Drug Administration requesting the agency to take a more flexible approach to regulating nicotine replacement therapy and to expand regulatory power over cigars. Kathleen has also filed amicus curiae briefs with the Supreme Court in two tobacco cases, Rowe v. New Hampshire Motor Transport and Altria v. Good. Kathleen’s work in obesity prevention and injury prevention has focused on Maryland state and local policies, including legislation requiring all vehicle occupants to wear a seatbelt and mandating that childcare facilities serve only healthy beverages to children. Kathleen is a Law School Professor at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law teaching public health law courses, including a Clinic through which students contribute to the work of the Network and the Center. Prior to joining the School of Law, Kathleen was an assistant attorney general in Maryland, an associate at Piper & Marbury (now DLA Piper) and a law clerk to the Honorable Lawrence F. Rodowsky on the Maryland Court of Appeals. A 1992 graduate of the School of Law, Kathleen is continually amazed at the high quality of today’s law students. A long-distance runner and triathlete, she has one son, three stepchildren and a granddaughter.
Chief of Staff
Megan Griest, M.P.P., is a program manager with the Network for Public Health Law-Eastern Region based at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law. In addition to her duties with the Network, Megan is also the program manager for Legal Resource Center for Public Health Policy. Megan provides important oversight of the operations of these programs, assures easy communication between and among involved faculty and students and external contacts, and coordinates grant management and reporting. Megan also tracks important legal, legislative and research happenings for the programs, keeping all staff up-to-date. Megan is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Public Policy with a concentration in Health Policy from the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Megan’s hobbies include reading; watching reality television shows; spending time with friends and family; and spoiling her husband Josh, her son Theodore (Teddy) and her rescue dog Sandy.
Deputy Director and Director of Grants and Research
Kerri McGowan Lowrey, J.D., M.P.H., is deputy director at the Network for Public Health Law—Eastern Region based at the University of Maryland School of Law. Kerri has 15 years of experience in health law and policy research, primary and secondary legal and legislative analysis, and empirical legal and legislative research. Much of her recent work centers on law and policy addressing concussions and other injuries in youth sports. Her areas of research have also included the role of law in cancer prevention, particularly in the area of obesity prevention; health disparities and social determinants of health; the use of epidemiological evidence in courts; and legal and ethical implications of emerging technologies. Kerri is a member of the bar of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. Her specialized training includes a four-year term as a cancer prevention fellow within the NCI’s Office of Preventive Oncology, where she assisted in developing the Cancer Prevention Fellowship Ethics Track. Prior to joining the Network for Public Health Law, Kerri served as technical vice president and manager of the Center for Health Policy and Legislative Analysis at the MayaTech Corporation in Silver Spring, MD. Kerri received a J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1999, an M.P.H. from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2001 and A.B. in public policy and American institutions from Brown University in 1996. While Kerri’s hobbies do not include writing about herself in the third person, they do include singing, reading, learning to play her new blue guitar, watching football, and spending lots of time with her husband, two kids, and two rescue dogs.
Senior Staff Attorney
Mellissa Sager, J.D., is a 2015 graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law, where she earned a J.D. and certificates in both Health Law and Environmental Law. She has extensive experience in local, state, and federal health and environmental policy. Mellissa has worked in the Maryland General Assembly, corporate government relations offices, and nonprofit organizations where she developed advocacy experience in both the for-profit and not-for-profit contexts. During law school she served as a Student Attorney in the law school’s Public Health Law Clinic where she worked with the Network for Public Health Law and the Legal Resource Center for Public Health Policy providing technical legal assistance on a variety of public health initiatives at the local, state, and federal levels. Mellissa also served as Treasurer on the Moot Court Board and participated in the National Health Law Moot Court Competition where her team made it to the quarterfinals.
Mellissa now serves as a staff attorney with the Network for Public Health Law – Eastern Region and the Legal Resource Center for Public Health Policy (LRC). In both of these roles she provides legal assistance to state and local legislators, health officials, and non-government organizations. Mellissa has worked and continues to work on a wide range of projects at the local, state, and national levels in an effort to develop and support best practices in public health across the country.
Mellissa graduated with a B.S. in Political Science from Towson University in 2007. She enjoys playing soccer, cheering on the Orioles and Ravens, and spending time with friends.
Mathew R. Swinburne, J.D., is senior staff attorney with the Network for Public Health Law - Eastern Region. Mathew’s current work focuses on issues of food safety and security.
Mathew was a Leadership Scholar at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, where he graduated Order of the Coif and magna cum laude in 2008. While at law school, he worked as a judicial intern for the Honorable Richard S. Bernhardt of the Circuit Court for Howard County and as a summer associate for Venable LLP. Mathew also participated in the law school’s Tobacco Control Clinic, advocating for state legislation regarding the tax rate of little cigars. After law school, Mathew worked as a commercial litigation associate for Venable. After leaving Venable, Mathew served as a law and policy analyst at the Center for Health and Homeland Security (CHHS). At CHHS, Mathew worked on cyber-security issues, emergency response resource gap analysis, and public health emergency response programs. Mathew is admitted to practice law in Maryland.
Prior to attending law school, Mathew worked for the American Red Cross in Montgomery County, Maryland. During his tenure, he served as the Director of Volunteer Services, Director of Health and Safety Services, and Interim Executive Director. As a member of the Red Cross, Mathew also participated in the 9/11, D.C. Sniper, and Hurricane Isabel disaster relief operations.