Program Faculty

Faculty and Staff

  • Maxim Gakh
    Max Gakh, JD, MPH, serves as Assistant Professor in the UNLV School of Public Health and Associate Director of the UNLV Health Law Program.  Having worked on public health law issues with government officials and public health professionals, his research focuses on the intersection of law and public health and explores how legal mechanisms can improve (or hinder) the health of entire communities. Professor Gakh's research has examined the government’s legal authority to address public health problems, law-based approaches to reduce chronic disease, and legal issues critical to preparing for an epidemic or other public health emergency. One of his recent grant-funded projects involved collaborating with community partners to study the possible health effects of full-day kindergarten.
  • Sara Gordon
    Sara Gordon, JD, serves as Associate Professor of Law at Boyd School of Law. Professor Gordon’s scholarship focuses on all aspects of mental health law, including law and addiction, law and psychology, the impact of cognitive and social psychology on decision-making, access to mental health care, mental health professional shortages, involuntary commitment of individuals with severe mental health conditions, and not-guilty-by-reason-of-insanity pleas. Professor Gordon is a productive scholar. Her most recent law review article, forthcoming in the Cardozo Law Review, examines the ethical and evidentiary issues that arise when a single mental health professional provides both forensic and therapeutic services to an individual patient. A second recent article, forthcoming in the Case Western Reserve Law Review, examines how the dangerousness standard in civil commitment proceedings can harm individuals with serious mental illness. Professor Gordon also has received a grant from the State of Alaska to conduct a comprehensive overview of statutes relating to mental health and mental competency and to recommend changes to existing Alaska statutes.
  • Leslie Griffin
    Leslie Griffin, JD, PhD, serves as the William S. Boyd Professor of Law at Boyd School of Law. Professor Griffin, who teaches constitutional law, law and religion, and bioethics and the law, is nationally and internationally recognized for her interdisciplinary contributions to the law, ethics, medicine, and religion literatures. She is author of the Foundation Press casebooks, Law and Religion: Cases and Materials (4th edition, 2016) and Practicing Bioethics Law (2015) (with Joan H. Krause). Recent articles include A Word of Warning from A Woman: Arbitrary, Categorical, and Hidden Religious Exemptions Threaten LGBT Rights, 7 Ala. C.R. & C.L.L. Rev. 97 (2015), and The Catholic Bishops vs. the Contraceptive Mandate, 6 Religions 1411 (2015). Professor Griffin's rewritten opinion about the abortion funding case, Harris v. McRae, 448 U.S. 297 (1980), was recently published in Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Opinions of the United States Supreme Court (Linda Berger, Bridget Crawford & Kathryn Stanchi eds., Cambridge University Press 2016).
  • Ann McGinley
    Ann McGinley, JD, serves as the William S. Boyd Professor of Law at Boyd School of Law. Professor McGinley is a leading expert in issues that lie at the intersection of health law and employment law, with a special focus on the interpretation and enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act in the workforce. She is the co-author of Disability Law: Cases, Materials, Problems (with Laura Rothstein), a widely used casebook that focuses on federal disability laws and their application in education, employment, state and local governments, and places of public accommodation. Professor McGinley also has authored a number of law journal articles addressing disability and other health- and employment-related issues. She is a frequent speaker on the disability law obligations of medical schools, hospitals, physicians' offices, and other health care institutions.
  • David Orentlicher
    David Orentlicher, MD, JD, is the Cobeaga Law Firm Professor of Law and Director of the UNLV Health Law Program at UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law. Nationally recognized for his expertise in health law and constitutional law, Dr. O has testified before Congress, had his scholarship cited by the U.S. Supreme Court, and has served on many national, state, and local commissions. A graduate of Harvard Medical School and Harvard Law School, Dr. O is author of Matters of Life and Death and co-author of Health Care Law and Ethics, now in its 8th edition. He has published numerous articles and essays on a wide range of topics, including health care reform, physician aid in dying, reproductive decisions, affirmative action, and presidential power. Dr. O’s work has appeared in leading professional journals, such as the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), as well as in the New York Times, Time, USA Today, CNN Opinion, the Chicago Tribune, and other major newspapers. He previously directed the American Medical Association’s Division of Medical Ethics, where he drafted the AMA’s first patient’s bill of rights, and between 2002 and 2008, Dr. O served in the Indiana House of Representatives, where he authored legislation to promote job creation, protect children from abuse and neglect, and make health care coverage more affordable.
  • Christine Smith
    Christine Smith, MS, a founding dean of Boyd School of Law, serves as Associate Dean for Public Service, Compliance and Administration. Dean Smith provides significant leadership with respect to all of Boyd’s health-related programs and initiatives, including the 2016 Southern Association for the History of Medicine and Science (SAHMS) Conference, the 2014 UNLV-UNSOM Interprofessional Health Equity Symposium, and the 2014 UNLV-UNSOM Interprofessional Health Disparities Symposium. These conferences and symposia brought together faculty, students, and administrators not only from the UNLV Schools of Allied Health Sciences, Community Health Sciences, Dental Medicine, and Law, as well as the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine but also health law and medical humanities scholars from four continents. In addition, Dean Smith has organized a number of health-related continuing legal education presentations at Boyd School of Law and the State Bar of Nevada, including programs examining current issues in HIPAA Privacy, mental health parity laws and mandatory mental health and substance use disorder benefits, and addiction medicine, among others. Dean Smith also oversees the required community service program at Boyd School of Law, which includes a variety of health-related service opportunities.
  • Stacey Tovino
    Stacey Tovino, JD, PhD, currently serves as the Judge Jack and Lulu Lehman Professor of Law at the William S. Boyd School of Law and served as the Founding Director of the UNLV Health Law Program from 2013 to 2018. Trained as both an attorney and a medical humanist, Professor Tovino teaches and writes in a variety of areas within health law (including health care access, quality, liability, organization, operations, and finance), as well as bioethics and the medical humanities. She has particular interest in issues relating to mental health and substance use disorders, and she has significant expertise in issues that lie at the intersection of health law and other fields, such as insurance law, gaming law, and immigration law. Professor Tovino’s recent non-symposium scholarship appears in Notre Dame Law Review (2019), Iowa Law Review (2018), Alabama Law Review (2018), Washington & Lee Law Review (2017), Minnesota Law Review (2016), Boston College Law Review (2016), Washington Law Review (2016), Washington & Lee Law Review (2014), and Tulane Law Review (2014), among other flagship and specialty law journals. In 2019, Professor Tovino received the UNLV Top Tier Award, a university-wide honor that recognizes faculty members who demonstrate excellence in all five areas of UNLV’s Top Tier Mission, including research and external funding, teaching excellence and student achievement, academic health center growth, infrastructure and shared governance, and community partnerships. She also earned law-school-wide teaching awards in 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2016. Professor Tovino has two decades of law practice experience representing individual and institutional health care providers in civil, regulatory, operational, and transactional matters as well as providing pro bono and patient advocacy assistance to patients and families.

Adjunct Faculty

  • Cynthia Asher
    Cynthia Asher, JD, MPH, serves as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the William S. Boyd School of Law. Trained in both law and public health, Prof. Asher practiced law in the Corporate Litigation Department at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and in the National Health Law Practice of Epstein Becker & Green before joining the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as Special Assistant to the Administrator. At Esptein Becker & Green, Prof. Asher counseled clients on federal and state health care fraud and abuse, licensing, reimbursement, and other regulatory health care issues. At CMS, Prof. Asher helped to implement new Medicare statutes and regulations. Prof. Asher also has served as the Director of Career Services at the William S. Boyd School of Law, where she developed and implemented programs for law students and alumni, including recruitment programs, educational programs and workshops, networking receptions, and mentoring programs. Prof. Asher teaches Health Care Organization and Finance.