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Concordia University School of Law Hires Nationally Renowned Health Law Expert

Katharine Van Tassel Joins as Associate Dean of Academics and Professor of Law

Originally beginning her career as an Advanced Clinical Nurse in pediatric intensive care, Katharine Van Tassel has been no stranger to innovation.

As a nurse, she was a member of the team that performed one of the first bone marrow transplants in the country. After earning her law degree, she was an Associate at the renowned international law firm of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey (now Squire, Patton, Boggs) and later founded her own 10-attorney law firm, Van Tassel & Associates. She co-authored the three-volume encyclopedia Food and Drug Administration (4th ed., 2015), which is cited as an authoritative FDA source by the U.S. Supreme Court. While teaching at the University of Akron School of Law, she founded the Public Health Law & Science Center, which took the lead in creating a number of civil rights initiatives to protect the rights of citizens impacted when the active Ebola threat arose in Ohio. She has also authored reports and provided written and oral testimony for U.S. Commission on Civil Rights hearings on hospital dumping of uninsured patients with mental health disabilities, the government’s emergency response to natural disasters (such as Ebola outbreaks), and human trafficking.

Van Tassel is currently completing an M.S. in Food Safety from Johns Hopkins University; in addition to her B.S.N. and J.D. degree from Case Western Reserve University, she has an M.P.H. in Law and Public Health Policy from the Harvard School of Public Health.

“We are thrilled about the impact Katharine will be making not only within the Concordia community but also within the state of Idaho,” said Elena Langan, Dean of Concordia University School of Law. “Her experience and expertise will contribute greatly to Concordia’s mission of preparing leaders to serve their communities.”

Van Tassel was born in Texas and grew up in Austin. She was interested in moving to Boise so her son could enjoy the same kind of childhood she did, riding horses and enjoying the outdoors. Given her entrepreneurial spirit, she was also interested in the opportunity to join the new law school.

“I came because of the wonderful opportunity to help grow the law school here,” Van Tassel says. “We have a fabulous new dean and a terrific faculty that focuses on experiential learning. Concordia is a great fit for me.”