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Columbia Law School has a history of fighting for justice and equality. That distinguished legacy continues through our scholarship, advocacy, and clinical work around the world.

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Kristen Underhill

Kristen Underhill is an authority on health law and policy, with expertise in medical malpractice, the structure of the insurance system, fraud, and abuse. Her research focuses on how the law influences individual decisions about risk and health behavior by arranging incentives, shaping opportunities, influencing preferences, and communicating information about social norms. She is currently at work on a five-year, National Institutes of Health study of access to new HIV prevention technologies. Her work has been cited by media including the BBC and The Boston Globe.

Underhill holds a D.Phil. in evidence-based social intervention from the University of Oxford. She teaches a variety of courses, including one focused on the uses and limits of tort law for advancing public health.

Laws with untested behavioral and scientific assumptions have the capacity to do real harm, but law can and should also be a force for improving health. Sometimes powerful fears about behavior can stand in the way of good law, and a behavioral science approach is important to debunk these misconceptions.