Katharine Van Tassel, JD, MPH

Professor of Practice
School of Law

Katharine Van Tassel is a Professor of Practice at Case Western Reserve School of Law. Previously, she served as Dean and Professor of Law at San Francisco Law School, the oldest law school in San Francisco. She has served as the Associate Dean of Academics and Professor of Law at Concordia University School of Law, the founding Director of Health Law Programs and Professor of Law at Creighton University School of Law, the founding Director of the University of Akron’s Public Health Law & Science Center, as well as the founding Director of Akron Law’s Health Law Programs and Professor of Law. At Akron Law, she was the recipient of the 2013 Faculty Scholar of the Year award.

Professor Van Tassel’s co-authored book, Food and Drug Administration has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court and by numerous federal district courts and courts of appeals, her research has been cited by judges on the supreme courts of New Mexico and Nevada on issues of first impression, and she has testified as an expert witness at hearings held by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in Washington, D.C., as well as at hearings held before the Ohio Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Professor Van Tassel’s scholarship has appeared in such journals as the New England Journal of Medicine, the University of Chicago Legal Forum, the Pepperdine Law Review, the Cardozo Law Review, the Connecticut Law Review, the Brooklyn Law Review, the University of Cincinnati Law Review, and the Seton Hall Law Review. She is also the co-author on the book, Litigating the Nursing Home Case and is the author of the book, International Encyclopaedia of Laws: Medical Law, United States of America (Wolters Kluwer - Kluwer Law International, 2022), part of a series of books written by an international group of experts who provide comparative information on the national laws of 32 countries in 25 separate subject areas since 1977.

She is the Co-Chair of the Food & Drug Law Committee of the Administrative Law Section of the American Bar Association and has served on the executive boards of the Law, Medicine, and Healthcare Section, the Law and Mental Disability Section, and the BioLaw Section of the American Association of Law Schools. She is the Editor of HealthLawProf Blog, has served as a blogger on Bill of Health, a blog of the Petrie-Flom Center at the Harvard School of Law, and as a blogger on BioLaw: Law and the Life Sciences.

Professor Van Tassel has served as a Hearing Officer for medical staff peer review proceedings and is a consultant on matters involving the abuse and neglect of nursing home residents. She has served as a member of both the clinical ethics review team and the institutional review board for experimental drugs and devices of the largest hospital system in Western Massachusetts.
At the start of her career, Professor Van Tassel clerked for U.S. District Court Judge William K. Thomas before becoming an associate with the international law firm of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey (now Squire, Patton, Boggs). She has regularly taught Health Law: Quality, Cost and Access, Healthcare Organization & Finance, Governance, Compliance & Risk Management, Compliance Skills: Planning, Auditing, Investigating, and Reporting, Bioethics, Public Health Law, Food, Drug & Biotech Law, Eldercare Law, Torts, Evidence, Civil Procedure and Sales. Professor Van Tassel has an MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health, is completing an MS from Johns Hopkins University, and has a BSN and JD from Case Western Reserve University.

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Recent Publications

Vulnerable Populations and Vaccine Injury Compensation: The Need for Legal Reform, in COVID-19 AND THE LAW: DISRUPTION, IMPACT, AND LEGACY (I. Glenn Cohen et al., eds., Cambridge University Press 2022) (a publication of a joint project of The Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School and the Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy at Yale Law School) (with Sharona Hoffman).

COVID-19 Vaccine Injuries — Preventing Inequities in Compensation, 384 NEW ENG. J. MED. e34 (January, 2021) (lead author, with Carmel Shachar, Harvard Law, and Sharona Hoffman, Case Western Law).

Using Clinical Practice Guidelines and Knowledge Translation Theory to Cure the Negative Impact of the Hospital Peer Review Hearing System on Health Care Quality, Cost, and Access, 40 Pepperdine L. Rev. 911-975 (2013).


B.S.N., J.D.
Case Western Reserve University
Harvard School of Public Health