Gene W. Matthews, J.D., serves as senior fellow at the North Carolina Institute for Public Health (NCIPH) at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health. Gene previously served as chief legal advisor to CDC in Atlanta from 1979 to 2004, directing a legal staff that grew to 30 persons. During that 25-year span, he handled a wide range of precedent-setting public health law issues and litigated key public health lawsuits and civil discovery cases. Over the past decade, Gene has provided leadership for the founding and development of the modern public health law movement. As a senior fellow at NCIPH, Gene led a national public/private partnership initiative, funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, designed to develop common legal preparedness agendas regarding liability laws during emergencies. Gene currently conducts legal research and provides technical assistance to public health practitioners on many legal topics. He also teaches courses on leadership in health law and ethics for the UNC Doctoral Program in Health Leadership. Gene is widely published and is frequently called upon to lecture on cutting-edge legal issues such as emergency preparedness; federalism; and future trends in public health leadership. Gene received the Distinguished Career Award of the Public Health Law Association “…in recognition of a career devoted to using law to improve the public’s health.” He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Law and is a member of the North Carolina Bar.
Jane Perkins, J.D., M.P.H., is the legal director at the National Health Law Program (NHeLP), a public interest law firm working to improve health access and health care for vulnerable populations. Before coming to NHeLP, Jane was an assistant attorney general in the State of Maryland, assigned to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and an associate in the health care division of a San Francisco area law firm. At NHeLP, Jane focuses on publicly funded health insurance programs, children’s health, and disability and civil rights. She has authored and co-authored many publications on these topics. She has served as principal or co-principal investigator for numerous projects, involving among other subjects: Making the Consumers’ Voice Heard in Medicaid Managed Care; Court Access for Low Income People; Early Intervention Services for Medicaid-eligible Children; and Sunshine and Accountability in Government-Funded Health Programs. Jane has provided technical and consulting support to health advocates in all 50 states and has provided national and state-based training, including on-site training in 32 states and the District of Columbia. She has engaged in extensive litigation and policy advocacy on behalf of low income people, people with disabilities, and children. Jane earned her M.P.H. from the University of California, Berkeley; her J.D. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; and her B.A. from Davidson College. She is admitted to the state bars of California, Maryland (inactive) and North Carolina; seven of the federal circuit courts of appeal; and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Corey Davis, J.D., M.S.P.H., is a senior attorney with the National Health Law Program (NHeLP). Before joining NHeLP Corey served as Employment Rights Attorney at Equality Advocates Pennsylvania where he represented lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals before administrative commissions and in state and federal courts. Prior to joining Equality Advocates Corey oversaw a street-based legal clinic sited at Philadelphia’s syringe exchange program. In both of these positions he provided direct legal representation as well as education, outreach and strategic advocacy.
Corey has also worked for the North Carolina Institute of Medicine, the University of Pennsylvania and the Drug Control and Access to Medicines Consortium in both research and management capacities. He is the recipient of the International AIDS Society’s Young Investigator Award, given for empirical research on the effect of law and law enforcement practice on access to an evidence-based public health intervention, and has published in the lay and academic press. Corey received his B.S. from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, his M.S.P.H. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his J.D. from Temple University. Corey is barred in Pennsylvania and New Jersey as well as various federal courts.
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Sarah Somers, J.D., M.P.H., is a managing attorney who has worked in the National Health Law Program’s (NHeLP) Chapel Hill office since 2001. She specializes in litigation and litigation support, and has expertise in Medicaid and disability issues. Sarah has provided training and analysis to advocates on issues related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Medicaid; the Americans with Disabilities Act; and other publicly-funded health care programs. She engages in research, writing and training on these and other issues. Before coming to NHeLP, Sarah worked for DNA—People’s Legal Services and the Native American Protection and Advocacy Project on the Navajo Nation, where she represented children in special education and Medicaid cases. Sarah received her J.D. from University of Michigan, her M.P.H. from the University of North Carolina School of Health Policy and Management, and her B.A. from Wellesley College. She is a member of the state bars of North Carolina; California; and Utah (inactive) and admitted to the First; Third; Sixth; and Ninth Circuit Federal Courts of Appeal.
Jessica Southwell, M.P.H., is project manager for the Public/Private Legal Preparedness Initiative at the North Carolina Institute for Public Health (NCIPH) at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. She is currently involved in conducting research related to prevention of opioid overdose. Jessica was previously employed by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) where she served in several positions. She has project management experience as Minnesota's pandemic influenza planner and a background in public health policy, working on various initiatives including health reform implementation and securing legal authorities for isolation and quarantine, mass dispensing, and volunteer protections. She also brings extensive experience from the nonprofit sector, most recently the Minnesota Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Jessica holds a Master of Public Health from the University of North Carolina and a Bachelor of Arts degree and graduate certificate in Preparedness, Response, and Recovery from the University of Minnesota.