Health Care Access & Coverage | Opioid Epidemic

When Health Care and Law Enforcement Overlap

Policy and Practice

1:00p.m. – 5:00p.m. ET September 24, 2021 Virtual Event

Hospital corridor.
Co-hosted by:
Penn LDI logo

Injuries and illnesses requiring emergency medical care often attract responses from law enforcement, and law enforcement officers are frequently present in hospitals. Anyone seeking emergency care might encounter law enforcement in the hospital, but this is particularly true for survivors of violent crime, incarcerated patients, survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence, patients experiencing psychiatric emergencies, undocumented immigrants, and individuals with substance use disorders. How do individual health, public safety, legal rights, and ethics intersect? Standardized policies and practices are needed to navigate professional conflicts and balance health and safety concerns. Co-hosted by Penn LDI and the Penn Department of Emergency Medicine, this multidisciplinary symposium brought together frontline providers, legal experts, health care workers, social scientists, and researchers to explore these issues and expand the conversation on law enforcement and clinical care.

Questions? Please contact Co-sponsored by:

Symposium Agenda

1:00–1:15 p.m. E.T.

Introductory Remarks

Elinore Kaufman, MD, MSHP, Department of Traumatology, Surgical Critical Care and Emergency Surgery, University of Pennsylvania Health System; Assistant Professor of Surgery, Perelman School of Medicine

1:15–2:00 p.m. E.T.

Providing Health Care in the Presence of Law Enforcement

Despite the increasing presence of law enforcement in clinical spaces, there is little formal training in how to navigate the medical, legal, and ethical gray areas that accompany this intersection. This panel will explore common clinical scenarios and explore how to apply fundamental medical principles to guide policy and behavior.

  • Erin Hall, MD, MPH, Department of Surgery and Critical Care Medicine, MedStar Washington Hospital; Assistant Professor of Surgery, Georgetown University School of Medicine
  • Tiffani Johnson, MD, MSc, Division of Emergency Medicine, UC Davis Children’s Hospital; Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, UC Davis School of Medicine
  • Kim Sue, MD, PhD, Division of Internal Medicine, Yale School of Medicine; Medical Director, National Harm Reduction Coalition
  • Moderator: Elinore Kaufman, MD, MSHP, Department of Traumatology, Surgical Critical Care and Emergency Surgery, University of Pennsylvania Health System; Assistant Professor of Surgery, Perelman School of Medicine

2:00–2:15 p.m. E.T.

Spotlight Presentation: A Medical Provider Toolkit for Protecting Patient Privacy

  • Carly Loughran, 3L Student, Georgetown University Law Center; Member, Working Group on Policing and Patient Rights 
  • Jake Sonnenberg, JD, Student, UCSF School of Medicine; Member, Working Group on Policing and Patient Rights 

2:15–3:00 p.m. E.T.

Reconciling the Goals of Public Health and Public Safety

Where law enforcement and health care intersect, the needs and agendas of patients, their clinical team, and law enforcement officials may coincide, conflict, or overlap. How can we strengthen person-centered care in the context of these coexisting challenges?

  • Rosa Brooks, JD, Co-Director, Innovative Policing Program; Scott K. Ginsburg Professor of Law and Policy, Georgetown University Law Center
  • Thomas Duncan, DO, FACS, FICS, Trauma Medical Director, Ventura County Medical Center; Medical Co-Director, Anacapa Surgical Associates
  • Tracie Keesee, PhD, Co-Founder and Senior Vice President of Justice Initiatives, Center for Policing Equity; Former Deputy Commissioner of Equity and Inclusion for NYPD; Retired Officer, Denver Police Department
  • Charles Dempsey, Retired Detective, Mental Evaluation Unit, Los Angeles Police Department
  • Moderator: Millie Sheppard, Program Manager, Community Violence Intervention Program, Medstar Washington Hospital Center

3:00–3:15 p.m. E.T.


3:15–4:00 p.m. E.T.

Supporting Patients Through Advocacy, Organizing, and Social Services: How Communities are Responding to Law Enforcement in Hospitals

In response to concerns from patients, families, and providers, a multitude of community organizations and activists have launched efforts to address some of the harms caused by the presence of law enforcement in health care settings — particularly in hospitals. This panel will highlight examples of these efforts, including legal advocacy, public campaigns, and social services.

  • Christine Goggins, MFA, Violence Recovery Specialist, Violence Recovery Program, Department of Urban Health Initiative, University of Chicago Medical Center
  • Bekura Shabazz, President, Criminal Injustice Reform Network
  • Yakira Teitel, MD, MPH, DPH Must Divest
  • Lydia Watts, JD, Executive Director, Rebuild, Overcome, and Rise (ROAR) Center, University of Maryland Baltimore, Carey School of Law
  • Moderator: Michael Smith, 3L Student, Georgetown University Law Center; Member, Working Group on Policing and Patient Rights 

4:00–4:15 p.m. E.T.

Spotlight Presentation: Reconciling Patients’ Wellbeing, Public Health, and Public Safety in a Health System

  • Vincent Chong, MD, MS, Division of Trauma/Critical Care, Department of Surgery, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center; Assistant Professor of Surgery, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
  • Hannah Janeway, MD, International and Domestic Health Equity and Leadership (IDHEAL) Fellow, Department of Emergency Medicine, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
  • Shamsher Samra, MD, MPhil, Department of Emergency Medicine, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center; Assistant Clinical Professor, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

4:15–5:00 p.m. E.T.

Evidence, Impact, and Context: What We Do and Don’t Know from Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Law Enforcement and Health Care

Evidence from multiple disciplines including medicine and public health, law, the social sciences and bioethics is needed to fully understand the relationships between law enforcement procedures and clinical practice. What has already been described through existing research? What are the important questions that remain unanswered? How do we best design a research agenda to drive evidence-based policy and practice? 

  • Sara Jacoby, PhD, MPH, MSN, Assistant Professor, Department of Family and Community Health, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
  • Joseph Richardson Jr., PhD, Joel and Kim Feller Professor of African American Studies and Anthropology, University of Maryland
  • Hope Smiley-McDonald, PhD, MA, Research Sociologist and Director of the Investigative Sciences Program, RTI International
  • Ji Seon Song, JD, Assistant Professor of Law, University of California, Irvine School of Law
  • Moderator: Utsha Khatri, MD, MSHP, Department of Emergency Medicine, Mt. Sinai Hospital; Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and Population Health Science and Policy, Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai

Symposium Videos