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Texas Tech Law Professor Tapped for Prestigious Health Fellowship

Jennifer Bard’s work will explore legal options available to Lubbock city officials seeking to eradicate nuisance insects.

Written by Cory Chandler

Jennifer S. Bard

Jennifer S. Bard

Texas Tech University School of Law professor Jennifer S. Bard will join a prestigious new residency program launched by the Network for Public Health Law and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Bard, the Alvin R. Allison Professor of Law and director of Texas Tech Law’s Health Law Program and J.D./M.D. Program, was one of six senior law professors selected for the Scholars in Residence fellowship, intended to sharpen their teaching and scholarly work while providing legal expertise to public health agencies.

Bard’s work will explore legal options available to Lubbock city officials seeking to eradicate nuisance insects such as bed bugs and mosquitoes.

She will focus primarily on balancing the property rights of Lubbock homeowners against the actions required by those seeking to track and kill the potentially harmful pests. These needs include securing access for inspectors and compelling private property owners to take remedial actions.

“One of the great challenges of implementing public health policies is balancing the rights of individuals, including owners of private property, and the rights of the community as a whole,” Bard said. “When conditions on private property result in the proliferation of disease-carrying insects, then it is necessary for the government, elected by all citizens, to intervene.

“In the case of mosquitoes which may carry West Nile or other serious viruses, the balance is clearly in favor of the population. But in the case of insects like bed bugs, that although a nuisance, are not yet proven carriers of disease, then the balance of interests is less clear and it is important that governments not over-reach. In the end, it is voters who set these parameters by electing the city, state and federal leaders who write the laws establishing these boundaries.”

Bard served the law school  as associate dean for faculty research and development from August 2011-January 2013. She also is an adjunct full professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Texas Tech University Health Science Center’s School of Medicine.

She teaches, writes and speaks in the areas of public health, bioethics, health law, human subject research, tort law and mental disability. In 2012, she received the President’s Excellence in Academics Award and in 2009 the President’s Excellence in Teaching Award. She also has been voted Best First Year Teacher by the Phi Alpha Delta Law School honors fraternity. She is an elected member of the American Law Institute, Book Review Editor of the Journal of Legal Medicine, and a past-chair of the American Association of Law School’s sections on Law, Medicine, and Health Care and Mental Disability.

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The Texas Tech School of Law is a leader among Texas law schools with a 16-year average pass rate of 90 percent on the State Bar Exam.

A small student body, a diverse faculty and a low student-faculty ratio (15.3:1) promotes learning and encourages interaction between students and professors.

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