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Robert Field, PhD, MPH, JD

Robert Field

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


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 Kline School of Law and professor of health management and policy at the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University.  He is also a  Provost Solutions Fellow at Drexel, 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 is a member of The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Health Advisory Panel and a frequent contributor on health policy topics. Previously he wrote a blog for the Inquirer on health policy entitled Health Cents, which featured 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

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health Law
  • Health Administration and Management
  • Public Health Ethics


Orlando AW, Field RI. Measuring the COVID-19 Financial Threat to Hospital Markets. Inquiry. 2021 Jan-Dec;58:469580211059985. doi: 10.1177/00469580211059985. PMID: 34844471.

Field RI. Whose Data Are They Anyway? Identification of Relatives and Genetic Exceptionalism. Am J Bioeth. 2021 Dec;21(12):78-79. doi: 10.1080/15265161.2021.1991036. PMID: 34806971.

Field RI. How to Motivate Equity in Health Decision Modeling. AMA J Ethics. 2021 Aug 1;23(8):E648-652. doi: 10.1001/amajethics.2021.648. PMID: 34459733.

Field RI, Orlando AW, Rosoff AJ. Genetics and COVID-19: How to Protect the Susceptible. Trends Genet. 2021 Feb;37(2):106-108. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2020.08.019. Epub 2020 Aug 29. PMID: 32943209; PMCID: PMC7456262.

Field RI, Keller C, Louazel M. Can governments push providers to collaborate? A comparison of hospital network reforms in France and the United States. Health Policy. 2020 Oct;124(10):1100-1107. doi: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2020.07.003. Epub 2020 Jul 15. PMID: 32712010.

Mohanty S, Buttenheim AM, Feemster KA, Moser CA, Field RI, Yudell M, Turchi RM, Carroll-Scott A. Pediatricians' vaccine attitudes and practices before and after a major measles outbreak. J Child Health Care. 2019 Jun;23(2):266-277. doi: 10.1177/1367493518786011. Epub 2018 Jul 15. PMID: 30009615.

Mohanty S, Feemster KA, Buttenheim A, Moser CA, Field RI, Mayer W, Carroll-Scott A. Factors Associated With Pediatrician Responses to Alternative Immunization Schedule Requests. Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2018 Feb;57(2):180-188. doi: 10.1177/0009922817696467. Epub 2017 Feb 1. PMID: 28952327.

Purtle J, Field RI, Hipper T, Nash-Arott J, Chernak E, Buehler JW. The Impact of Law on Syndromic Disease Surveillance Implementation. J Public Health Manag Pract. 2018 Jan/Feb;24(1):9-17. doi: 10.1097/PHH.0000000000000508. PMID: 28141670; PMCID: PMC5534386.

Eiser AR, Field RI. Can Benefit Corporations Redeem the Pharmaceutical Industry? Am J Med. 2016 Jul;129(7):651-2. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2016.02.012. Epub 2016 Mar 8. PMID: 26965301.

Field RI. The Ethics of Expanding Health Coverage through the Private Market. AMA J Ethics. 2015 Jul 1;17(7):665-71. doi: 10.1001/journalofethics.2015.17.7.msoc1-1507. PMID: 26158815.

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.