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Sunstein wins Holberg Prize

first_imgBERGEN, Norway — Harvard legal scholar Cass Sunstein has been named this year’s winner of the Holberg Prize, one of the largest international awards given to an outstanding researcher in the arts and humanities, the social sciences, law, or theology.Sunstein, the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard Law School, is being given the prize for his wide-ranging, original, prolific, and influential research. Not only has his research redefined several academic fields, but it has had far-reaching impact on public policy. His scholarship spans behavioral economics and public policy, constitutional law and democratic theory, legal theory and jurisprudence, administrative law, and the regulation of risk.In particular, Sunstein’s academic work has reshaped understanding of the relationship between the modern regulatory state and constitutional law. He is widely regarded as the leading scholar of administrative law in the United States, and is by far the most cited legal scholar in the country.For four decades, Sunstein has combined his scholarly contributions with a range of public activities and participation in open debate. He has influenced thinking on some of the most pressing issues of the time, from climate change and free speech to health issues.He will receive the award of $765,000 during a formal ceremony at the University of Bergen, Norway, on June 6.Describing the key purpose of his work, Sunstein said, “I have long been concerned with how to promote enduring constitutional ideals — freedom, dignity, equality, self-government, the rule of law — under contemporary circumstances, which include large bureaucracies that sometimes promote, and sometimes threaten, those ideals.“The main goal has been to deepen the foundations of democratic theory for the modern era, and to understand in practical terms how democracies might succeed in helping to make people’s lives better — and longer.”Sunstein has published 48 books and hundreds of scholarly articles. The books “After the Rights Revolution” (1990) and “The Partial Constitution” (1993) are considered his major works on American constitutional law, and explore how related ideals can be reworked and defended in the face of the challenges posed by the rise of the administrative state. “Impeachment: A Citizen’s Guide” (2018) emphasizes the importance of self-government and of human dignity, linking those to republican ideals and the power of impeachment.In “The Cost-Benefit State” (2002), “Risk and Reason” (2002), “The Laws of Fear” (2005), and “The Cost- Benefit Revolution” (forthcoming in 2018), he shows the ways in which cost-benefit analyses may discipline regulatory agencies. These works seek to bridge the gaps between deliberative ideals, distributive justice, human rights, and the demands of efficiency. “Legal Reasoning and Political Conflict” (1996; second edition 2018) is his most ambitious work on jurisprudence, the rule of law, and legal theory, emphasizing how law often reflects “incompletely theorized agreements,” which enable people to live together despite disagreement or uncertainty about the most fundamental questions.Sunstein won the Goldsmith Book Prize for “Democracy and the Problem of Free Speech” (1993), in which he argued the need to reformulate U.S. First Amendment law. The book says that it is necessary to move away from the conception of free speech as a marketplace, in order to “reinvigorate processes of democratic deliberation, by ensuring greater attention to public issues and greater diversity of views.”His work on self-government, free speech, and modern technologies, culminating in “#Republic: Divided Democracy in the Age of Social Media” (2017), explores the problem of echo chambers and social polarization. It argues for the importance of common spaces and unchosen, serendipitous encounters with problems and ideas.In 1998, Sunstein broke new ground, together with Richard Thaler and Christine Jolls, with the paper “A Behavioral Approach to Law and Economics,” which initiated an academic field called behavioral law and economics. Sunstein and Thaler followed up with the best-selling book “Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness” in 2008. The book discusses how public and private organizations can help people make better choices in their daily lives, and it helped popularize and cement the influence of behavioral law and economics.“The Ethics of Influence” (2016) investigates ethical constraints on the uses of behavioral science, with reference to ideals of autonomy and welfare. Another forthcoming book, “Unleashed: Behavioral Economics in the Wild” (2019), will argue that private preferences are constrained by social norms, and that when such constraints begin to lift, social change can be quite rapid — for better or for worse.“Cass Sunstein’s work is animated by a profound sense of the ways in which human behavior poses a challenge for regulation,” said Pratap Bhanu Mehta, chair of the Holberg Committee. “Moreover, in addition to his contribution to the academic field, he has also mastered the art of communicating difficult and important ideas to the public. His work is rigorous yet accessible, and marked by an extraordinary concern for human welfare as well as a commitment to an enlightened public discourse. Sunstein is one of the great intellectuals of our time.”Sunstein earned his J.D. magna cum laude in 1978 from Harvard Law School, where he was executive editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. From 1980‒1981 he was an attorney-adviser at the U.S. Justice Department, before becoming an assistant professor at the University of Chicago Law School (1981–1983), where he also became an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science (1983–1985). Sunstein became full professor in both political science and law in 1985, and in 1988 he was named the Karl N. Llewellyn Professor of Jurisprudence in the Law School and Department of Political Science.In 2008, he joined the faculty of Harvard Law School as the director of its program on risk regulation. From 2009 to 2012, Sunstein was administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. He returned to Harvard in 2012 as Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law until 2013, when he became Robert Walmsley University Professor. He is founder and director of the Program on Behavioral Economics and Public Policy.Sunstein was elected a member of American Law Institute in 1990 and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1992. In 2017, he was elected corresponding fellow of the British Academy. He has won the Regulatory Innovation Award (Burton Foundation, 2012), the Henderson Prize (Harvard Law School, 2002), the Certificate of Merit Award of American Bar Association (1991), and the Award of American Bar Association for best scholarship in administrative law (1978, 1989, 1999). He has honorary doctorates from Copenhagen Business School and Erasmus University.Sunstein’s government service includes membership on President Barack Obama’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies (2013) and the U.S. Department of Defense’s Innovation Board (2016‒2017). He has also served on several committees, including the Institute of Medicine Committee (2004‒2005) and the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Public Service Obligations of Digital Television (1997‒1998).With George Akerlof and Adam Oliver, he is co-founder and co-editor of Behavioural Public Policy. In addition, he has contributed to constitution-making and law-reform activities in many countries. Sunstein has been on the boards of editors for Studies in American Political Development, the Journal of Political Philosophy, and Constitutional Political Economy. He has also been a contributing editor to The American Prospect and The New Republic.The Norwegian Parliament established the Holberg Prize in 2003. Previous laureates include Stephen Greenblatt, Harvard’s John Cogan University Professor of the Humanities.last_img read more

In the Future, Will You Instagram Your Medical Records?

first_imgSocial media platforms like Instagram, Twitter and the like are easy to learn and make it easy to share information with just a click of a mouse or your smartphone. Is it too far-off to consider that someday that it will be just as easy to access, manage and share our medical records and diagnostic history with our healthcare providers?After all, consumers are more informed and active than ever in terms of monitoring and tracking their fitness, diet and healthcare. IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker noted that companies shipped 24.7 million wearable devices such as Fitbits and Apple Watches in the first quarter of 2017 alone.If we are truly the stewards of our own medical data, what’s to stop us sharing our medical history and diagnostic information with our primary care physician or medical team via tools like Instagram, just as easily as you currently share your selfies from summer vacation?Okay, sure, when it comes to actually Instagramming private medical records, there are inevitable implications around HIPAA and other privacy considerations, but as people continue to take an active role in their healthcare, the demand for resources that help us – and our medical teams – make informed decisions about our care is on the rise.Indeed, this movement has far-reaching benefits for patients, their caregivers and their healthcare providers. Managing one’s own healthcare data and records is key for all consumers and patients. But the stakes are infinitely higher for those facing a diagnosis of cancer, Alzheimer’s or chronic conditions.If you’re a patient that’s been recently diagnosed with lung cancer (for example), your biggest priorities are likely to be around educating yourself about the type of cancer you have, what stage it’s at, your life expectancy, who the team is that will develop a roadmap for your care, and what the impact of that roadmap will be. You might have a primary care physician that will begin to coordinate with a team of specialists. Your treatment plan might include surgery, or radiation treatment, or chemotherapy or immunotherapy.It would be near impossible for even the most informed patient to share their medical history and records across those multiple specialists involved with their diagnosis and treatment plan. For diseases like cancer, and other high-profile, high-impact diseases, a precision medicine exchange is necessary that’s centered around the patient. This type of information hub – whether in the form of a 3-ring binder or a USB hard drive or a cloud-based secure portal – needs to be accessible not only to the patient (who owns the data), but to everyone on the patient’s treatment team.The good news is that the ability to access, manage and share your medical records and diagnostic histories is significantly easier than it was just five years ago. In many cases, a consumer-friendly approach has given patients the ability to not just request and manage their own medical data, but to investigate and propose treatment plans and clinical trials to their medical teams.Today, resources and innovative technologies are enabling patients to take that role a step further and shift from being a participant to an active marketer and advocate for new treatments. Being able to actively market yourself for new therapies and treatments is the next step in patient engagement.For example, the Yale School of Medicine launched a user-friendly health information technology platform called Hugo in 2016, which allows people to acquire their health-related data and use it to participate in studies. Hugo lets people access their electronic health records (EHRs) from disparate health care systems and synchronize them with a research database.In the press release announcing Hugo, Rick Kuntz, MD, MS, Chief Scientific, Clinical and Regulatory Officer of Medtronic noted that “there is a pressing need for new technologies that promote patient engagement and enhance data quality while reducing the cost and burden of data acquisition.”Additionally, online communities such as DNA.Land a free service run by geneticists from Columbia University and the New York Genome Center, allow members to learn more about their genome, which in turn enables scientists to make new genetic discoveries for the greater population. By contributing their genomes to the site, DNA.Land’s members help to enable non-profit researchers and advance basic and translational science. Getting onboarded to DNA.Land is easy – you just create an account and they point you to a service such as Ancestry or 23andMe as your source for the raw DNA data.Employers are also making it easier for employees to maintain data about their health. Dell EMC was the first employer in the world to sponsor an electronic and automatically updated Personal Health Record (PHR) program called HealthLink. Over 30% of our employees interact with a PHR on a regular basis. A chapter I co-authored about the program and technology was published in in the book Analytics in Healthcare and the Life Sciences, which stated that the need for patient-centric resources is clear:“Consumers are being empowered with information and choice. There’s no fighting the trend, so employers – indeed, all the players in the healthcare ecosystem – must embrace it.ShareWhether it will be through a familiar platform like Instagram, or an information hub of the future that will allow consumers to easily share what they want, when they want, to whomever they choose, about their medical and diagnostic history, how we access, manage and share our healthcare data changing day-by-day. For consumers like me who are passionate about researching and accessing information about my own health and medical history, these are exciting times indeed.  I look forward to learning more about my healthcare-self everyday.last_img read more

NBA trade rumors: Hawks, Magic interested in 76ers guard Markelle Fultz

first_img NBA trade rumors: Pelicans unlikely to deal forward Julius Randle He has averaged 8.2 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists in his 19 appearances in 2018-19.Fultz was the top pick in the 2017 draft and began his career with high expectations. But he also dealt with injuries as well as a hitch in his jump shot during his rookie season, which limited him to 14 games. Related News Markelle Fultz is drawing interest ahead of the Feb. 7 trade deadline.The Hawks and Magic have both spoken to the 76ers about dealing for the 6-4 guard, ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported on the Woj & Lowe show Wednesday. center_img NBA trade rumors: Thunder, Rockets interested in Cavaliers guard Alec Burks Philadelphia acquired Tobias Harris from the Clippers in a blockbuster trade Wednesday. But it may still be looking to build its bench depth.Fultz was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome in December and hasn’t played since Nov. 19. There is no timetable for his return to the court.last_img read more