November 2, 2015


(NOVEMBER 2, 2015)—The O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, a part of Georgetown Law, has added two Associates; Sean Bland and Sonia Canzater.

Sean Bland, J.D., joins the O’Neill Institute’s National HIV/AIDS initiative led by health policy expert Jeffrey S. Crowley, an O’Neill Institute Distinguished Scholar.

“We have made progress in fighting HIV but we’re at a unique moment of opportunity,” Crowley says. “By extending treatment and strengthening support for communities heavily impacted by HIV, we can reduce the number of people who become infected with HIV each year and reduce both the disparities in infection rates and health outcomes across populations.”

Crowley says Bland will be key to integrating legal and policy analysis to assist policymakers and stakeholders assess policy options that support the effective implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.

“In Sean, we have gained a highly skilled lawyer/researcher who has already worked on a number of pressing issues related to ending the HIV epidemic,” Crowley says. “His demonstrated commitment to focusing on the populations at greatest risk for HIV and his interest in developing polices that take into account the full context of people’s lives shows that he will meaningfully expand the capacity of the National HIV/AIDS Initiative.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States continues to face a very serious HIV epidemic, with 1.2 million Americans living with HIV and roughly 50,000 people becoming newly infected each year.

Bland holds a Juris Doctor from the Georgetown University Law Center and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and German Studies from Yale University.

Prior to joining the O’Neill Institute, Bland was a litigation associate at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP in New York and Washington DC. He also worked for two years as a research associate at The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health, where he helped to coordinate research projects focused on social and behavioral factors affecting HIV transmission among gay and bisexual men and transgender individuals. Additionally, he has served as a law clerk with the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, the American Psychological Association, and Lambda Legal, where he held the 2011 Tyron Garner Memorial Fellowship for African-American LGBT Civil Rights.

As part of his responsibilities, Bland will devote part of his time to the O’Neill Institute’s Ryan White Policy Project, supported by Gilead Sciences, Inc.

Information about the National HIV/AIDS Initiative can be found here.

Sonia L. Canzater, J.D., M.P.H., joins the O’Neill Institute’s Hepatitis C Policy Project, which focuses on issues and barriers of access to effective treatments for hepatitis C.

“It’s critical that people with hepatitis C have access to effective treatments to prevent its progression for two key reasons,” explains Crowley. “The CDC says the longer infected people live with hepatitis C, the more likely they are to get sick. And, if we experience widespread onset of liver disease and liver cancer, we’d see a tremendous strain on the health care system’s ability to treat these diseases in addition to an inability to fulfill the demand for organs that inevitably would be needed for transplantation.”

Crowley says Canzater will be a key contributor to the HPP’s mission to support hepatitis C consumer education and advocacy organizations by providing legal and policy research on key issues.

Gilead Sciences Inc. provided a grant to support the establishment of the HPP and the addition of Canzater who joined the HPP in October after completing an internship at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“Sonia’s diversity of experience working in public health, and her legal training gives her the technical skills to help us establish our Hepatitis Policy Project and conduct important policy research that will expand access to hepatitis treatment and services that carry the promise of dramatically reducing the scope of the hepatitis C epidemic in the United States,” Crowley says. “I look forward to her critical leadership on these important issues.”

Canzater holds a Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law, a Master of Public Health from the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Temple University.

Prior to joining the O’Neill Institute, Canzater worked as an intern at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services assisting attorneys in the Office of Civil Rights to address issues and complaints related to disability rights violations. Prior to receiving her J.D., Canzater founded a consulting business to offer professional grant research, proposal writing, strategic planning, and evaluation services to non-profit organizations, schools, faith-based organizations, and businesses. Canzater is a Certified Health Education Specialist and a Certified Grants Consultant.

The O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University is the premier center for health law, scholarship, and policy. Its mission is to contribute to a more powerful and deeper understanding of the multiple ways in which law can be used to improve the public’s health, using objective evidence as a measure. The O’Neill Institute seeks to advance scholarship, science, research, and teaching that will encourage key decision-makers in the public, private, and civil society to employ the law as a positive tool for enabling more people in the United States and throughout the world to lead healthier lives.