Law Professor Named to Infectious Disease, Ebola Task Force

Task force was created by Gov. Rick Perry in response to Ebola diagnosis in Dallas.

Vickie Sutton

Vickie Sutton

Vickie Sutton, the associate dean for research and faculty development at Texas Tech University's School of Law and the director of the Center for Biodefense, Law and Public Policy, was named Monday to the Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response.

The task force was created by Gov. Rick Perry in response to last week's diagnosis of the Ebola virus in the Dallas area. The task force will be charged with examining the state's preparedness capabilities and response to an outbreak of infectious diseases, such as Ebola, which has killed thousands in West Africa.

“I am honored to have been named a member of the Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response,” Sutton said. “As Gov. Perry acknowledged in his announcement, Texas is home to incredible experts in the field of infectious diseases and I am pleased to have the opportunity to contribute support in my area of expertise – legal, regulatory and policy support in the discussions and activities of the task force that may result in recommendations to the governor.”

Dr. Brett Giroir, executive vice president and CEO of the Texas A&M Health Science Center, will lead the task force.

“Over the past several days we have learned a lot about the unique challenges of situations like this, and it's important that we continue to adapt our response to these realities,” Perry said in a release on the governor's website. “This task force will develop a comprehensive, long-term plan to ensure Texas deals effectively with any potential outbreak, building on our existing state emergency plan and will cover all phases of preparedness and response.”

Sutton, whom Perry also appointed to the Texas Council on Key Resources and Critical Infrastructure Council for her expertise in biodefense law, established the Law and Science Certificate Program at Texas Tech. The Center for Biodefense, Law and Public Policy is the only center at a law school in the United States to focus solely on issues of law and biodefense, biosecurity and bioterrorism.

According to the governor's office, the task force will provide assessments, protocols and recommendations related to the latest Ebola case and develop emergency management plans for incident command teams at the state and local levels.

“The creation of this task force should be encouraging to Texans to know that state government is doing what they should be doing – protecting the health and safety of the people of Texas,” Sutton said.

The task force's first report on findings and recommendations is due to the governor and the legislature by Dec. 1. Their second report is due Feb. 1.

For more on the governor's task force, go to the website.

Texas Tech School of Law

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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