February 10, 2021


Washington, DC — Contributing to the global fight against COVID-19, Timothy O’Neill (L ’77) and Linda O’Neill (N ’77) are committing $10 million to the O’Neill Institute to fund a new Center for Transformational Health Law, which will focus on the changing legal and policy environment during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Building on work already begun with the COVID-19 Law Lab, O’Neill’s partnership with the Lancet, and a longstanding relationship with the World Health Organization, the Center for Transformational Health Law will analyze legal and policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, and how global health systems are—or are not—meeting the moment with the best in evidence-based, public health measures.

“The O’Neill Institute has created the field of health law as we know it, work that was only possible because of Tim and Linda’s generous founding gift,” said William M. Treanor, dean of the Georgetown University Law Center. “This new investment will allow Georgetown to tackle the massive health law issues arising in the wake of a historically destructive pandemic.”

Building on its existing portfolio of work, the O’Neill Institute has expanded its capacity to support the COVID-19 response with cutting edge research and projects, including the first quantitative national study of the impact of COVID-19 on Black Americans and creating the COVID-19 Law Lab, which, in partnership with the WHO, UNAIDS, and UNDP, supports evidence-based policy making, and launched in July 2020 with a catalog of law and policy from 190 countries.

“The O’Neill Institute is uniquely positioned to respond to the national and global crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, drawing on resources across Georgetown University to mobilize the very best research and analysis on protecting the public health,” according to Tim O’Neill. “Linda and I are very pleased to invest in an organization that has already proved it can seize this unique moment and mobilize for change at this turning point for the United States and the world.”

From the start of the pandemic, O’Neill experts have worked to share and disseminate information and critical perspectives through every major U.S. and international publication, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, NPR, and PBS, and provided commentary on numerous national and international broadcasts, from MSNBC and CNN to BBC. O’Neill experts have appeared, been quoted, or published in scholarly journals hundreds of times, and published groundbreaking articles in the Lancet, Journal of the American Medical Association, Foreign Affairs, and Science.

“We are enormously grateful for the generous support of the O’Neill family, whose generosity and steadfast support makes our vital work possible,” said Lawrence Gostin, faculty director of the O’Neill Institute. “This pivotal moment for global public health requires both a bold and thoughtful response, which the new Center for Transformational Health Law is perfectly poised to undertake.”


For questions or to schedule an interview, please contact Lauren Dueck at Lauren.Dueck@georgetown.edu.