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Center for Policy Studies
Public Affairs Discussion Group


Sharona Hoffman, J.D., Edgar A. Hahn Professor of Law and Professor of Bioethics and Co-Director, Law-Medicine Center at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law
Friday September 19, 2014
12:30-1:30 p.m.
Dampeer Room
Kelvin Smith Library
Case Western Reserve University

Dear Colleagues:

It seems like everyone is talking about “Big Data.” According to, the opportunities in this field will lead to hundreds of thousands of jobs, and in response the university has created new undergraduate majors and minors in Data Science. The university website offers numerous claims that “big data” will improve detection of multiple cancers, or enable “personalized medicine.” The July, 2014 issue of Health Affairs, the main health policy journal, focused on “Using Big Data to Transform Care.”

But data is not the same as information, and analytic methods are useless if the underlying data is garbage. Collecting data creates its own burdens on the health care system. Professor Hoffman asks, “Is big data necessarily better data?” Join us to discuss the pluses and minuses of the newest health policy craze.

All best regards,
Joe White
Luxenberg Family Professor of Public Policy and Director, Center for Policy Studies

About Our Guests

Sharona Hoffman joined the Case Western Reserve University law school faculty in 1999 and has taught civil procedure, employment discrimination, various health law courses and seminars, and a seminar entitled "Religion, Ethics, and the Law." Prior to obtaining her LL.M. in health law, Hoffman was a Senior Trial Attorney at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Houston, an associate at O'Melveny & Myers in Los Angeles, where she spent much of her time working on the Exxon Valdez oil spill case, and a judicial clerk for U.S. District Judge Douglas W. Hillman (Western District of Michigan). Hoffman spent the spring semester of 2007 as a Guest Researcher at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Public Health Law Program. She has published articles on employment discrimination, health insurance, disability law, biomedical research, the concept of race and its use in law and medicine, emergency preparedness, and health information technology. She is a frequent speaker on health law and civil rights issues and has been widely quoted in the media, including the L.A. Times, USA Today, Business Week, and the New York Times.

Where We Meet

The Friday Public Affairs Lunch convenes each Friday when classes are in session, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. We usually meet in the Dampeer Room of Kelvin Smith Library. The Dampeer Room is on the second floor of the library. If you get off the elevators, turn right, pass the first bank of tables, and turn right again. Occasionally we need to use a different room; that will always be announced in the weekly e-mails.

Parking Possibilities

The most convenient parking is the lot underneath Severance Hall. We regret that it is not free. From that lot there is an elevator up to street level (labeled as for the Thwing Center); it is less than 50 yards from that exit to the library entrance. You can get from the Severance garage to the library without going outside. Near the entry gates - just to the right if you were driving out - there is a door into a corridor. Walk down the corridor and there will be another door. Beyond that door you'll find the entrance to an elevator which goes up to an entrance right inside the doors to Kelvin Smith Library.

Friday Lunch Upcoming Topics and Speakers:

September 26: The Future of CLE Air Service. With Todd F. Payne, Chief of Marketing and Air Service Development, Cleveland Airport System. ***Alternative Venue: LL06 B & C at Kelvin Smith Library***

October 3: Encouraging Savings by the Poor in Developing Countries. With Silvia Prina, Associate Professor of Economics. ***Alternative Venue: Mather House Room 100***

October 10: The Effects of High-Stakes Testing on Students and Schools. With Dale Whittington Ph.D., Director of Research and Evaluation, Shaker Heights City School District.

October 17: "Obamacare" and The Free Clinic. With Danny Williams J.D., MNO, Executive Director, The Free Clinic of Greater Cleveland. ***Alternative Venue: Mather House Room 100***

October 24: An Update on the Search for an AIDS Vaccine. With Michael M. Lederman, Scott R. Inkley Professor of Medicine and Co-Director, CWRU/UHC Center for AIDS Research.

October 31: The Midterm Election. With Karen Beckwith, Flora Stone Mather Professor of Political Science, Justin Buchler, Associate Professor of Political Science; and Andrew Lucker, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Political Science. ***Alternative Venue: LL06 B & C at Kelvin Smith Library***

November 7: ROTC Returns to Campus. With Lt. Colonel Donald Hazelwood, Northeast Ohio ROTC Commander and Professor of Military Science, John Carroll University. ***Alternative Venue: Mather House Room 100***

November 14: Perspectives on Human Subjects Research Requirements. With Suzanne Rivera Ph.D., M.S.W., Associate Vice President for Research and Assistant Professor of Bioethics. ***Alternative Venue: LL06 B & C at Kelvin Smith Library***

November 21: Local Government in an Age of Austerity. With David B. Miller, Associate Professor in the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences and Council President, City of South Euclid.

November 28: Thanksgiving Break

December 5: Godless Democrats and Pious Republicans: Party Activists and the Mythical God Gulf. With Ryan Claassen, Associate Professor of Political Science, Kent State University.
September 14, 2014

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Upcoming Events

A Referendum for National Separation: Scotland's Vote in Comparative Perspective

A discussion with Professor Karen Beckwith, Ph.D., Flora Stone Mather Professor of Political Science (Fulbright Scotland, Visiting Professor, Spring 2014) and Pete W. Moore, Ph.D. , Associate Professor and Marcus A. Hanna Chair of Political Science Tuesday, September 16, 4:00-5:00 p.m., Mather House, Room 100, 11201 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH, 44106.

On Thursday September 18, 2014, the people of Scotland will vote in a Scotland-wide referendum to answer a simple question: Should Scotland be an independent country?

If the Scots vote "yes," Scotland will separate from the United Kingdom, of which it has been a part since 1707, and will become a new independent country. The prospect of independence raises a series of questions, that will only be answered after a "yes" vote on the referendum: whether Scotland will continue to have access to the pound sterling, whether Scotland will quickly and easily become a member of the European Union in its own right, whether Scotland will control the oil in the North Sea within Scottish waters, and whether the UK will be able to continue to station its nuclear submarine fleet in Scotland.

A Critical Evaluation of Occupy, Now

A discussion with Matthew Noah Smith. Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Leeds and Director, Program in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, Tuesday, September 16, 2014, 4:00 PM, Clark Hall, Room 206, 11130 Bellflower Road, Cleveland, OH 44106.

The Occupy movement was greeted with joy in 2011. Three years afterwards, how should we understand it? Smith argues that Occupy, and more generally we, still lack a significant alternative vision to the current state-and-capital structures that dominate the contemporary economy. This talk is a mix of philosophy, political economy, and reflections on occasional participation in NYC's Occupy activity. All are welcome! Sponsored by the Department of Philosophy’s Ethics Table, Inamori Center, and the Center for Policy Studies.

Executive Overreach: The President On His Own?

With James P. Pfiffner, University Professor of Public Policy, George Mason University, September 17, 4:00-5:30, Moot Court Room (A59), Case Western Reserve University School of Law, 11075 East Boulevard, Cleveland, OH 44106-7148.

The Constitution Day Student Committee welcomes Professor James Pfiffner of George Mason University to discuss the historical, political, and constitutional evolution of presidential power in America. From sweeping internal surveillance to aggressive drone strikes, the actions of the executive bear far-reaching domestic and international consequences. This forum traces the early foundations of the presidency and explores the controversy surrounding its expansion and recent constitutional challenges. Jonathan L. Entin, Professor and Associate Dean, CWRU School of Law, will comment and a panel of students will question the speakers. Sponsored by he Office of the President, Office of Government and Community Relations, Department of Political Science, Center for Policy Studies, and School of Law. A reception will follow at the School of Law in the Blackacre Lounge.

September 2014






































About the Friday Lunch Newsletter

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