Dr. Burris, Professor of Law at Temple Law School, began his career in public health law during the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. His research focuses on how law influences public health and health behavior.
Dr. Burris was the editor of the first systematic legal analysis of HIV in the United States, AIDS and the Law: A guide for the public (Yale University Press, 1987), and spent several years lobbying and litigating on behalf of people with HIV as an attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union. He covered a wide range of issues related to law and HIV/AIDS, including discrimination against people with HIV and other disabilities, HIV policy, research ethics, and the health effects of criminal law and drug policy. His research includes health governance, the regulation of sexual behavior, harm reduction, and human research subject protection. He has been particularly interested in developing theory and methods aimed at promoting effective local health governance. His current work is focused on empirical study of the relationship of law and legal practices to public health. As director of the Public Health Law Research Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Dr. Burris leads a comprehensive effort that includes research grant making, methods development, and technical assistance to build the field of public health law research. Dr. Burris has served as a consultant on public health law with organizations ranging from the United Nations Development Program and the American Psychological Association to the Institute of Medicine and the producers of the Oscar-winning film Philadelphia. He is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis and the Yale Law School.