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Robert Field, PhD, MPH, JD

Robert Field


Phone: 215.571.4810
College: Dornsife School of Public Health
Program: Health Management and Policy
CV: Download CV


AB, Biological Anthropology, Harvard College; MPH, Harvard University School of Public Health; JD, Columbia University School of Law; PhD, Psychology, Boston University


Robert I. Field, JD, MPH, PhD is a nationally known expert in health care regulation and its role in implementing public policy.  He holds a joint appointment as professor of law at the School of Law and professor of health management and policy at the School of Public Health at Drexel University.  He is also a lecturer in health care management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a senior fellow of Penn’s Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics.

Professor Field is the author of Mother of Invention: How the Government Created Free-Market Health Care, just released by Oxford University Press.  It presents an historical overview of four key health care sectors to demonstrate the underlying importance of government programs in creating and maintaining the health care system and to place health reform in the context of an ongoing evolutionary process.  He is also the author of Health Care Regulation in America: Complexity, Confrontation and Compromise, a comprehensive overview of health care regulation, also published by Oxford University Press.

Professor Field's recent scholarly work has focused on health reform and is effects on the structure of the health care system, ethical issues in vaccines, and policy implications of genetic databases.  His work has appeared in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, the Villanova Law Review, the Drexel Law Review, Health Affairs, Vaccine, and the Journal of Clinical Oncology.  He writes a blog for the Philadelphia Inquirer on health policy entitled Health Cents, which features 14 prominent Philadelphia health care leaders as regular contributors.


Professor Field speaks nationally on health care topics. He is frequently quoted in the press, including stories in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Philadelphia Inquirer, and BusinessWeek and has discussed health policy issues on CNN, NPR, ABC, and numerous local television and radio stations.  He has also been a frequent commentator on WHYY, the NPR affiliate in Philadelphia.

Before joining the faculty of Drexel University, Professor Field founded and chaired the Department of Health Policy and Public Health at University of Sciences in Philadelphia, where he was also professor of health policy.  Previously, he led business planning and development for the primary care network of the University of Pennsylvania Health System. He has also conducted health policy research at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and the Center for Law and Health Sciences at Boston University, practiced health law with the Philadelphia firm of Ballard Spahr, LLP, and directed public policy research for Cigna Corporation.

Professor Field earned a Ph.D. in psychology from Boston University, an M.P.H. from the Harvard School of Public Health, a J.D. from the Columbia Law School, where he was associate editor of the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law, and an A.B. magna cum laude from Harvard College.

Research Interests

  • Healthcare
  • Health law
  • Health care administration
  • Ethics
  • Health policy and law


Field, R. Mother of Invention: How the Government Created Free-Market Health Care. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Field, R. “What You See is What You Fear: Visual Imagery of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases as a Tool to Counteract Vaccine Rejection.” Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics, vol. 9, no. 12, p. 1815-1818, 2013.
Field, R. “How the Government Created the Modern Pharmaceutical Industry.” Saint Louis University Journal of Health Law & Policy, vol. 6, no.1, p.11-68, 2012.
McElligott, S., Field, R., Bristol-Demeter, M., Domchek, S., and Asch, D. “How Genetic Variant Libraries Effectively Extend Gene Testing Patents: Implications for Intellectual Property and Good Clinical Care.” Journal of Clinical Oncology, vol. 30, no. 24, p.2943-2945, 2012.
Hedden, E., Jessop, A., and Field, R. “Childhood Immunization Reporting Laws in the United States: Current Status.” Vaccine, vol. 30, no. 49, p.7059-7066, 2012.

Field, R. and Caplan, A. “Evidence-Based Decision Making for Vaccines: The Need for an Ethical Foundation.” Vaccine, 30(6):1009-1013, 2012.

Field, R. “Government as the Crucible for Free Market Health Care: Regulation, Reimbursement and Reform.” University of Pennsylvania Law Review, 159(6):1660-1726, 2011.

Field, R. “Regulation, Reform and the Creation of Free Market Health Care.” Hamline Journal of Public Law & Policy, 32:301-331, 2011.

Field, R. “The Malpractice Crisis Turns 175: What Lessons Does History Hold for Reform?” Drexel Law Review, 4:(1):7-39, 2011.

Field, R. “The Ethics of Allocating Vaccines.” In: Ravitsky, V., Fiester, A. and Caplan, A. (eds.). The Penn Center Guide to Bioethics, New York: Springer, 2009.

Field, R. Health Care Regulation in America: Complexity, Confrontation and Compromise. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.