USF Health faculty spend a day in court to see inside the legal system

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After spending a morning in courtrooms at the George Edgecomb Courthouse in downtown Tampa, USF Health faculty, administrators and students saw firsthand the similarities of the medical and legal professions.

USFH students, faculty and administrators were invited to experience the judicial process first hand.

USFH students, faculty and administrators were invited to experience the judicial process first hand.

About two dozen people from USF Health who attended this year’s Black Robe Day, a morning-long event that partners lawyers and judges with faculty and administrators from the USF Colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Public Health, and Pharmacy, and the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, as well as medical students.

The event is organized by Jay Wolfson, JD, DrPH, USF Distinguished Service Professor and associate vice president for Health Law, Policy and Safety at USF Health and Senior Associate Dean Morsani College of Medicine, and Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Gregory Holder, and coordinated by Dionne Ferguson, JD, PhD, director of Strategic Planning and Institutional Effectiveness, and Laura M. Daniels, judicial assistant to Judge Holder.

The lunch for event attendees was hosted by the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), a group of litigators that promotes issues that support the courts and provide a better understanding of the court system.

The main goal of the Black Robe Day is to give a glimpse of our legal system so USF Health students and faculty gain better perspectives of the commonalities of law and medicine. The program is also linked to the Law and Medicine Scholarly Concentration, one of several programs offered by the Scholarly Concentration Program in the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine.

This year, the group from USF Health met with judges for part of the morning of Oct. 20 and then split into smaller groups to shadow individual judges and access many of the court cases taking place that day. Guests of the court heard details about drug possession, domestic violence, theft, and battery, among other types of cases, as they watched the proceedings.

Reflections from the students and faculty about their day in court included gratitude for the inside look at the court system and a newfound appreciation for the legal process. Some of the quotes from the morning included:

USFH students, faculty and administrators were invited to experience the judicial process first hand.

“The disparities we see in health care mimics what you see in the courtroom. And being open to more students would be good because we could be studying these issues from a systems point of view. We need to get more people involved and passionate about this,” said Jacqueline Wiltshire, PhD, MPH, associate professor of Health Policy and Management at USF College of Public Health.

USFH students, faculty and administrators were invited to experience the judicial process first hand.

“I was struck by the co-morbidity of substance abuse with almost every story we heard today. No matter their angle or what their drug of choice was, it was amazing how much substance abuse there is and you wonder what direction the causality is. But it’s still shocking and has grim statistics,” said Sean Gregory, PhD, MBA, assistant professor of Health Policy and Management at the USF College of Public Health.

USFH students, faculty and administrators were invited to experience the judicial process first hand.

“As a health economist, it’s amazing to me the lost resources that are coming through this building. I can’t believe the challenges you all face on a day-to-day basis and it’s really nice to learn your perspective on it,” said Troy Quast, PhD, associate professor of Health Policy and Management at the USF College of Public Health.

 

Read the full story at USF Health News

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