University of Pittsburgh
October 27, 2016

New Endowed Scholarship Established for Pitt Health Law Students

Scholarship named for Pitt’s international authority on right-to-die issues

Sharon Blake


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PITTSBURGH—A new opportunity for students in the University of Pittsburgh’s Health Law Program is emerging with the establishment of the Professor Alan Meisel Endowed Scholarship Fund.Alan Meisel

Pitt Chancellor Emeritus Mark A. Nordenberg and his wife Nikki Pirillo Nordenberg created the fund in honor of Alan Meisel, a leading international authority on end-of-life decision making and founder of Pitt’s Center for Bioethics and Health Law and Pitt School of Law’s Health Law Certificate Program.

“Not only has Professor Meisel shaped the field of health law through his scholarly work, but he has taken the lead in creating special opportunities for Pitt Law students,” said Nordenberg, who first met Meisel in 1977 when Nordenberg came to Pitt to interview for a position on the Pitt Law faculty.

“We have a very strong group of Pitt Law alumni who have built distinguished careers as health law professionals, and, for many of them, the education and encouragement they received from Professor Meisel has been critical to their work,” said Nordenberg. He said that it was “very natural” to create a scholarship fund in Meisel’s name.

The fund will provide scholarship support for students in the Health Law Program who meet the University’s eligibility requirement. Most students take two years to complete the certificate.

Pitt Law’s Health Law Program, which trains students in a rapidly changing and growing field, is one of the oldest of its type in the United States and is ranked 12th in the nation in the U.S. News & World Report law school specialty rankings. Law firms provide legal services to hospitals, health insurance companies, nursing homes, and pharmaceutical manufacturers, just to name a few. The program provides students with a strong foundation in health law that will enable them to practice in a variety of contexts.

Alan Meisel is the principal author of The Right to Die: The Law of End-of-Life Decisionmaking (Aspen Law and Business), now in its third edition. The first edition won the 1989 Association of American Publishers Award for the outstanding book in the legal practice category. Meisel has published widely in the fields of health law and medical ethics. He served on the Ethics Working Group of the White House Task Force on Health Care Reform in 1993 and was a member of the President’s Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine in 1982.