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Event Program


Doors Open

Refreshments served

6:15 - 7:00PM


7:00 - 7:30PM

Keynote Address

Susan Herman

President, American Civil Liberties Union 

7:30 - 8:20PM


The Contraceptive Mandate

8:20 - 8:40PM


8:40 - 9:15PM


Public Policy & Medical Decisions

9:15 - 9:30PM

Closing Address

John Sexton

President, New York University


Key Note Address

Susan Herman

Susan N. Herman was elected President of the American Civil Liberties Union in October 2008, after having served on the ACLU National Board of Directors for twenty years, as a member of the Executive Committee for sixteen years, and as General Counsel for ten years. Herman holds a chair as Centennial Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School, where she currently teaches courses in Constitutional Law and Criminal Procedure, and seminars on Law and Literature, and Terrorism and Civil Liberties. 

Herman has discussed constitutional law issues on radio, including a variety of NPR shows; on television, including programs on PBS, CSPAN, NBC, MSNBC and a series of appearances on the Today in New York show; and in print media including Newsday and the New York Times. She has also participated in Supreme Court litigation, writing and collaborating on amicus curiae briefs for the ACLU on a range of constitutional criminal procedure issues, and conducting Supreme Court moot courts, and in some federal lobbying efforts.

Herman received a B.A. from Barnard College as a philosophy major, and a J.D. from New York University School of Law, where she was a Note and Comment Editor on the N.Y.U. Law Review. Before entering teaching, Professor Herman was Pro Se Law Clerk for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and Staff Attorney and then Associate Director of Prisoners' Legal Services of New York.

Closing Address

John Sexton

John Sexton, the fifteenth President of New York University, also is the Benjamin Butler Professor of Law and NYU Law School’s Dean Emeritus. He joined the Law School’s faculty in 1981, was named the School’s dean in 1988, and was designated the University’s president in 2001.

During his presidency, the University’s reach and stature have grown tremendously. President Sexton oversaw the University’s largest increase in the number of Arts and Science faculty; applications for undergraduate admissions have reached record levels; and, in 2008, NYU finished the most successful completed fundraising campaign in the history of American higher education.

A signature of his tenure has been the emergence of NYU as a Global Network University, with a network of 12 international academic centers on six continents and campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai.

Other milestones include a merger that created the new NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering and the establishment of the Center for Urban Science and Progress in downtown Brooklyn.

A Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, President Sexton also serves on the board of the Institute of International Education, is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and is past Chair of the American Council on Education. President Sexton received a Bachelor’s degree in history, a Master’s degree in comparative religion, and a Ph.D. in the history of American religion, all from Fordham University. He received a law degree magna cum laude from Harvard Law School.

PANEL I ­­­— The Contraceptive Mandate

Sasha Neha Ahuja

Sasha Neha Ahuja is the Director of Government Relations at Planned Parenthood of New York City, where she drives the organization’s lobbying, political and policy work, supports strategic initiatives and fuels both local and statewide community mobilization. At PPNYC, Sasha has been working to ensure that in a moment when reproductive health is being rolled back across the nation, NYC remains a model for progressive policies broadening reproductive health access for all New Yorkers.

Prior to PPNYC, Sasha spent almost a decade organizing alongside immigrant communities, having worked with the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, South Asian Youth Action, the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy and the Urban Justice Center. Sasha also serves as a Steering Committee member at the New York City Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, on the board of Streetwise and Safe, and trains the next generation of grassroots organizers with both People for the American Way and with the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond.

Anthony T. Caso

Anthony T. Caso is an Associate Clinical Professor of Law at the Dale E. Fowler School of Law at Chapman University. Professor Caso directs the Constitutional Jurisprudence Clinic at the law school. In the clinic, students work with Professor Caso to draft briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court arguing for an original understanding interpretation of the Constitution in significant cases. The clinic filed a brief in the Hobby Lobby/Conestoga Wood cases that were argued in March before the Supreme Court.

Prior to joining the Chapman faculty, Professor Caso had a law practice in Sacramento California, handling a variety of complex civil trial and appellate matters. Between 1979 and 2007, Professor Caso worked as an attorney for Pacific Legal Foundation, ultimately managing the legal program for the Foundation. While at Pacific Legal Foundation, Professor Caso successfully argued one case and managed four others before the United States Supreme Court.

Mary Ann Chirba

Mary Ann Chirba holds a Juris Doctorate from Boston College Law School, a Doctorate of Science and a Master’s in Public Health in Health Policy from the Harvard School of Public Health, and a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Colgate University. She a Professor at Boston College Law School where her courses have included Comparative Health Law; Legal Reasoning; Advanced Health Care Law and Policy; and Product Liability Law.

This semester, she is teaching the Federal Health Reform seminar at NYU Law School. At the Harvard School of Public Health, Professor Chirba has taught courses on Current Developments in Health Law; Managed Care Law & Regulation; Pharmaceutical Product Law and Regulation; “The Tobacco Wars;” and Medical Malpractice & Risk Management. She is a regular lecturer at Harvard Medical School, Brandeis University and Tufts Medical School. In addition to publishing many articles and blogs, Professor Chirba recently co-authored Health Care Reform: Law and Practice (M. Chirba, A. Noble, O’Melveny & Myers; Lexis/Matthew Bender 2013). This 2-volume treatise analyzes statutory and regulatory compliance obligations under the Affordable Care Act.

Kevin K. Russell

Kevin K. Russell has argued nine merits cases in the Supreme Court in the past eight years. He has been counsel or co-counsel in dozens of other cases as well, while also frequently filing amicus briefs on behalf of groups such as the ACLU, NAACP, the National Women’s Law Center, and constitutional law scholars. Kevin currently is an instructor in the Harvard Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, and previously was an instructor in the Stanford Supreme Court Litigation Clinic for eight years.

Prior to joining the firm, Kevin worked in the Appellate Section of the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice. During that time, he represented the United States in more than thirty-five civil and criminal cases in eleven federal courts of appeals, presenting oral argument in more than two dozen of those cases. Kevin clerked for Justice Stephen G. Breyer during the Supreme Court’s October Term 1995. He also served as a law clerk to Judge William A. Norris on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Jordan Sekulow

Jordan Sekulow is the Executive Director o the American Center for Law and Justice. Mr. Sekulow oversees much of the center's international work, engaging with government officials and international leaders on human rights issues around the world. With an extensive background as a conservative grassroots political organizer on both national and local issues, Mr. Sekulow is a sought-after expert on American politics. He served as the National Youth Director for the Bush-Cheney 2004 presidential campaign.He is the host of  "Jay Sekulow Live!," a syndicated radio program providing cutting analysis of today's political and legal landscape with elected officials and conservative leaders, as well as the host of "Sekulow," the ACLJ's weekly television broadcast. He regularly appears as a gues commentator on Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, and other national media outlets. 

He is a regular contributor to The Washington Post's "On Faith" section and maintains his own Washington Post blog entitled "Religious Right Now," where he covers social conservatives' involvement in shaping America's legal, political, cultural landscape. He also publishes articles in The Washington Times, The Daily Caller, Human Events, and  the National Review Online.He is a graduate of Regent University School of Law in Virginia Beach, Va., where he served as co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Regent Journal of Law and Public Policy. He is also a graduate of George Washington University and his Master of Laws degree in International Human Rights from the Georgetown Law Center.

PANEL II — Public Policy & Medical Decisions

Don Ashkenase

Donald L. Ashkenase, has served as Executive Vice President – Corporate of Montefiore Medical Center since 1987 up to 2009. As of January 1, 2010 he has assumed the role of Special Advisor to the President responsible for Governmental Relations. Montefiore is the University Hospital and Academic Medical Center for the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Mr. Ashkenase graduated in 1965 from Brooklyn College and served four years in the United States Air Force as a hospital administrator. He then received his Masters Degree from Wagner College.

Mr. Ashkenase spent nine years at the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation leaving as First Vice President – Finance and Chief Financial Officer. He left NYCHHC in 1979 to become CFO at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. Mr. Ashkenase is Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia University, School of Public Health. He is chairman of the board of HealthFirst and a member and chairman of the board of the HANY’S Insurance Company. He is member and past President of Great Neck Board of Education and the Chairman of the Board BRHIO.

Jeffrey D. Chansler

Jeff Chansler is a Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of EmblemHealth, a health insurance company headquartered in New York City with some three million members and $10 Billion in revenues. He has responsibility for litigation, employee benefits and provider contracting. EmblemHealth is the parent corporation resulting from merger of two New York Health plans in 2007—GHI and HIP. From 2002 until the merger of GHI and HIP, he was Senior Vice President and General Counsel of GHI, where he had responsibility for the legal department, compliance and the fraud detection department.

From 1988 to September 2002, he was Vice President and Associate General Counsel at Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield in New York City where he was responsible for litigation, legal support of human resources, risk management, compliance and the fraud detection function. Prior to joining Empire, he was an associate at Breed, Abbott & Morgan and at Cravath, Swaine & Moore.

He has appeared on numerous panels, particularly on the topics of the Affordable Care Act and insurance coverage of experimental procedures. He graduated from Columbia University School of Law where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and from the University of Indianapolis. 

Francesca Gany

Dr. Francesca Gany is the Chief of the Immigrant Health and Cancer Disparities Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the Director of the Center for Immigrant Health and Cancer Disparities, and a Director of the community based participatory South Asian Health Initiative. She works to bridge immigrants, minority community members, and the medically underserved with the healthcare system, and to eliminate health disparities. Her groundbreaking work has led to an improvement in health outcomes and to the development of long-term clinical, health policy, and programmatic changes.

Prior to joining Memorial Sloan Kettering, Dr. Gany was the founder and Director of the Center for Immigrant Health at the New York University School of Medicine; of the NYU Cancer Institute CORE Center (Cancer Outreach, Outcomes and Research for Equity); and of the Health Promotion, Disease Prevention, and Human Migration concentration in the NYU Global Masters of Public Health program. She has served as the Principal Investigator on a number of pioneering immigrant health studies in the areas of cancer, language access and cultural competence, technology and immigrant health, healthcare access, and cardiovascular disease.

Carolyn R. Wolf

Carolyn Reinach Wolf is Executive Partner in the law firm of Abrams, Fensterman, Fensterman, Eisman, Formato, Ferrara & Wolf, LLP and Director of the Firm's Mental Health Law practice. Ms. Wolf holds a J.D. from Hofstra University School of Law, an M.S. in Health Services Administration from the Harvard School of Public Health and an M.B.A. in Management from the Hofstra University School of Business. She is admitted to practice in New York State and Federal Courts as well as the U.S. Supreme Court. In addition, Ms.

Wolf is currently an adjunct professor at Hofstra Law School, teaching Law and Psychiatry. Prior to practicing law, Ms. Wolf was a hospital administrator and Director of Hospital Risk Management.

 Ms. Wolf was recently selected to the 2013 New York Super Lawyers list. Her expertise includes mental hygiene law, including retention and treatment over objection psychiatric cases, mental health warrants, capacity determinations, informed consent and medical treatment cases, confidentiality and release of records matters, interaction with law enforcement in health care facilities and institutions of higher learning, Kendra's Law applications (Assisted Out-Patient Treatment Orders), Article 81 and 17-A guardianship proceedings, civil and criminal litigation and negotiation specific to mental health issues, consultation and advice in navigating the mental health system and legal interventions in the inpatient and outpatient treatment settings as well as mental health issues in the higher education setting. She also consults with health care institutions on issues of end of life decision making, development and ongoing functioning of ethics committees, advance directives, and institutional review boards. 

Michelle Yuen

Michelle Yuen is an experienced litigator at Nixon Peabody who focuses her practice on representing hospitals, health care providers, long term care facilities and practice groups in commercial disputes of all kinds from medical staff hearings to high-profile tort cases. In addition to her knowledge of the health care industry, Michelle is well versed in municipal, real estate, labor and Indian Law. Her work in this area covers land use, breach of contract, theft of trade secrets, restrictive covenants, breach of fiduciary duty, tortious interference with contractual and prospective business relations, unfair competition and fraud and defamation.

Michelle is a member of the New York City, New York State and American Bar Association, as well as the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY). She is a magna cum laude graduate of New York University and she received her J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. She writes and speaks regularly on health care and commercial litigation related issues. A recent publication reviewed the New York SAFE Act of 2013 and its profound effect on mental health care providers and their patients.


Sarah Burns

Professor Sarah Burns combines learning in social science and law to develop more effective problem solutions for legal practitioners and institutions. At NYU School of Law since 1990, Professor Burns has developed simulation and clinical courses in civil litigation, negotiation, mediation, dispute system design and litigation, organizing & systemic change as part of the Law School’s widely recognized Clinical Program.
Burns began law practice as a litigating lawyer with the Washington, D.C., commercial law firm, Covington & Burling. In her commercial litigation, Burns worked on diverse assignments but cites her exposure to D.C. industry trade regulatory practice as especially interesting. Covington was one of the first D.C. firms to develop the practice of representing industry associations in federal regulatory matters. “This was my introduction as a lawyer to interest-based practice that is so central to all negotiation and coalition work – whether in for profit or not for profit/NGO sectors,” explained Burns.

Burns later moved into public interest civil rights practice doing litigation, legislative and policy advocacy work. Although she worked on cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, Burns found trial work to be the most interesting, especially in the discrimination law arena. Developing and presenting proof of the disparate experience and resulting damage that discriminatory systems impose on the minority or different newcomers highlighted for her the essential challenges that must be surmounted for institutions to manage diversity well. Burns is recognized for trial uses of social science evidence in the discrimination law field and uses that same body of knowledge to develop systemic solutions outside of litigation. Burns graduated in 1979 from Yale Law School, where she edited the Yale Law Journal, and holds master’s degrees from Stanford University in sociology and the University of Oklahoma in human relations.

Beth C. Weitzman

Beth C. Weitzman is Vice Dean and Professor of Health and Public Policy at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Prior to her joining the Steinhardt School in 2009, Dr. Weitzman spent more than 20 years on the faculty at NYU’s Wagner Graduate School. Dr. Weitzman’s research interests focus on urban policies affecting poor families and their children; she has evaluated a range of programs aimed at meeting their health, social service, housing, and educational needs. Dr. Weitzman brings to her research extensive experience in program evaluation and in primary data collection. She conducted more than a decade of research on homeless families, beginning in the late 1980’s, with funding from New York City’s Human Resources Administration, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation.

More recently, Dr. Weitzman directed the national evaluation of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Urban Health Initiative which won the 2010 Outstanding Evaluation Award from the American Evaluation Association. Current research includes evaluations of a program integrating supportive housing with medical case management services and of policies requiring calorie labeling in fast-food restaurants. Her work has been published in such journals as the American Journal of Public Health, the Journal of Adolescent Health, and the American Journal of Evaluation, where she serves on the editorial board.

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