From the frenetic ER to law firm conference rooms to the hallowed halls of UC Hastings, Gregg Cochran joins the UCSF/UC Hastings Consortium on Law, Science & Health Policy as associate director of the new Masters of Science in Health Policy and Law (HPL) degree program launching Fall 2016.
Cochran’s invaluable 360° perspective, gleaned from his early career as an ER physician and subsequent years as a successful healthcare lawyer, will heavily inform his contributions to the HPL program, which will offer two tracks in health law and health policy and lead to an online Masters of Science degree geared towards physicians, lawyers, healthcare administrators, advocates and recent college grads who are eager to delve deeper into the legal, policy and social challenges impacting the U.S. healthcare system.
Cochran’s “third career” at UC Hastings and the Consortium was forged through hard work and good timing. After attending medical school on an air force military scholarship, he was stationed in northern Maine where he worked in the base’s ER. “After I fulfilled my commitment to the military, I stayed in the local community for another five years because they needed doctors, but I’m not really a small town guy and I was over the Maine winters. I decided to go to law school with the intention of putting my medical background to good use.”
A self-described “bookworm” and “school nerd” who taught residents and medical students during his physician years and was a legal writing instructor during law school, Cochran worked his way up through the law firm ranks (he became a partner at Nossaman LLP in 2012 and will continue to serve as of counsel to the firm) and had just started to explore law school teaching opportunities when he met Professor Jaime King, the Consortium’s co-director, through mutual contacts.
“Gregg understands the challenges both healthcare providers and their attorneys face in an ever-changing regulatory environment. He is also a dedicated and inspirational teacher, and we are thrilled to have him,” said King.
Although Cochran views healthcare costs as one of the most important issues facing the industry and laments the inequality in the quality of care due to factors like geography and patients’ education, he’s heartened by the evolution he’s seen during his 15 years practicing law. “Doctors are getting more serious about medical record keeping, getting second opinions, practicing evidence-based medicine and trying to improve outcomes without increasing costs,” he observed.
The HPL program will allow students to engage in lively interactive discussions about all of those matters and more, and the online format will give students the flexibility to obtain their degrees while continuing to work. “The degree is a perfect example of the kind of interdisciplinary program envisioned by the founders of the Consortium. Students will graduate with the ability to analyze the challenges facing our healthcare system from a wide variety of disciplines, and they will also develop key connections with other future leaders in the field,” said King.
Cochran, who will teach an overview course on the U.S. healthcare system and the law, as well as seminars on healthcare reform, providers and patients, and institutional regulation and compliance, has high hopes for the new program. “I’m honored to work with an amazing group of people in the Consortium who are doing great things to broaden the horizons of healthcare law, policy and education.”
For more information on the HPL program, click here: http://health-policy-law.ucsf.edu/.