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KUDOS! Professor Jocelyn Downie appointed inaugural James S. Palmer Chair in Public Policy and Law
Congratulations to Schulich School of Law Professor Jocelyn Downie, who has been appointed Dalhousie’s inaugural James S. Palmer Chair in Public Policy and Law. “I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to serve the public policy legacy of James Palmer,” says Downie.
James S. Palmer, QC (LLB ’52) was passionate about fostering informed public policy and advancing education that would contribute to good governance. Through his and his family’s generous support and that of other donors, the James S. Palmer Chair in Public Policy and Law has been established at the Schulich School of Law.
The inaugural Palmer Chair will provide intellectual leadership and engage in projects that have an impact on public policy and law locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. Building on the Schulich School of Law’s expertise in research and advocacy that engages with and shapes public policy, the Palmer Chair will play an instrumental leadership role in bringing together scholars, students, policymakers, and advocates to engage with current policy issues.
Professor Downie has a national and an international reputation for her policy research and impacts, and we are very pleased to have her as our inaugural Palmer Chair.
— Dean Camille Cameron
"Our faculty has substantial expertise in policy work for the public good and productive partnerships with policy-makers and advocates,” says Schulich School of Law Dean Camille Cameron. “The James S. Palmer Chair in Public Policy and Law will help us build on this expertise. Professor Downie has a national and an international reputation for her policy research and impacts, and we are very pleased to have her as our inaugural Palmer Chair.”
While Downie doesn’t officially take up her role as Chair until Sept. 1, she is already developing a full, exciting agenda that includes ideas for new learning opportunities for students, building networks of public policy-engaged legal academics and initiatives to bring academics, practitioners, and policy-makers together.
The intersection of health, law, policy, and ethics
Downie began her academic career in philosophy (a BA and MA at Queen’s University and an MLitt at the University of Cambridge) and then switched to Law (LLB at the University of Toronto and LLM and SJD at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor). After law school she clerked for Chief Justice Lamer at the Supreme Court of Canada, and after graduate school she was the director of Dal’s Health Law Institute for 10 years. Most recently, she has been a university research professor in the Faculties of Law and Medicine at Dalhousie and a faculty associate of the Health Law Institute.
As principal investigator on more than $3 million in research grants, Downie has published numerous books and articles and has given talks around the world. She has helped build the health law and legal ethics communities in Canada. Her public policy work has been focused on issues at the intersection of health, law, policy, and ethics. She has also worked extensively on issues relating to women’s health, including assisted human reproduction and access to abortion, and the regulation of research involving humans.
Downie is a Member of the Order of Canada as well as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. She is also a Fellow of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation and a recipient of the CIHR Barer-Flood Prize for Health Services and Policy Research.
“The James S. Palmer Chair in Public Policy and Law will enable the Schulich School of Law to build on its tradition of unselfish public service and amplify its reputation as a leader in policy work for the public good,” says Downie. “I can’t wait to get started.”
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