Scott Burris, J.D., is a Professor of Law at Temple Law School, where he directs the Center for Health Law, Policy and Practice, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Research on Policy and Law program. He is also a Professor in Temple’s School of Public Health.

Burris began his career in public health law during the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. He 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; New Guide for the Public published 1993), and spent several years lobbying and litigating on behalf of people with HIV as an attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union. Since joining the Temple faculty in 1991, his research has focused on how law influences public health and health behavior.  In 2009, he founded the Public Health Law Research Program for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which has supported over 80 empirical studies of the impact of law on health, as well as LawAtlas, an innovative policy surveillance portal, and a comprehensive resource on scientific health law research methods.

He is the author of over 125 books, book chapters, articles and reports on issues including discrimination against people with HIV and other disabilities; HIV policy; research ethics; and the health effects of criminal law and drug policy. He has been particularly interested in developing theory and methods aimed at promoting effective local health governance. His work has been supported by organizations including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Open Society Institute, the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

He has served as a consultant on public health law with organizations ranging from the United Nations Development Programme and World Health Organization to the Institute of Medicine and the producers of the Oscar-winning film Philadelphia. He is affiliated with the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS at Yale, and serves as an advisor to the Tsinghua University AIDS Institute, the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences Research Center for HIV/AIDS Public Policy and the Program in Bioethics at Monash University. Burris is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis and the Yale Law School.


J.D., Yale Law School
B.A., Washington University (St. Louis)

Research & Teaching Areas

Areas of Expertise

Selected Publications

Publications and Media Appearances

Public Health Law Research Program


  • Associate Director, Center for Law and the Public's Health ( Law, Policy and Ethics Core, Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS, Yale University
  • Programme Advisory Group, Harm Reduction & Human Rights Monitoring and Policy Analysis Programme, International Harm Reduction Association
  • American Bar Association, AIDS Coordinating Committee (1999-present)
  • Prevention Point Philadelphia (syringe exchange program) (Board Member 2006-present)
  • Associate Editor, International Journal of Drug Policy, 2006- (editorial board, 2004-present)
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Community Psychology, 2006-present
  • Editor, Public Health Law and Policy Abstracts, Social Science Research Network, 2005-present