Benjamin Mason Meier

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Department of Public Policy

University of North Carolina
218 Abernethy Hall
Chapel Hill, NC
27599-3435 |  Visit Personal Website

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Benjamin Mason Meier is an Assistant Professor of Global Health Policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Meier's interdisciplinary research--at the intersection of international law, public policy, and global health--examines legal frameworks for global health. Working collaboratively across UNC's Department of Public Policy and Gillings School of Global Public Health, he has written and presented extensively on the development of rights-based public health policy pursuant to state, national, and international law. As a contributor to the development of global health policy, Dr. Meier serves additionally as a Scholar at Georgetown Law School's O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law and as a consultant to international organizations, national governments, and nongovernmental organizations. He received his Ph.D. in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University, his LL.M. in International and Comparative Law from Cornell Law School and Université de Paris I, his J.D. from Cornell Law School, and his B.A. in Biochemistry from Cornell University.

Meier, Benjamin, Jacqueline Merrill & Kristine M. Gebbie. 2009. "Modernizing State Public Health Enabling Statutes to Reflect the Mission and Essential Services of Public Health." Journal of Public Health Management & Practice 15 (284).
Abstract: It is unclear whether efforts of the past decade to modernize state public health statutes have succeeded in codifying into state law the currently understood mission and essential services of public health. Although many state health agencies may be operating in a manner consistent with these principles, their codi?cation in state law is crucial for the sustainability of agency efforts in disease prevention and health promotion. This research examines the 50 state public health enabling statutes for their correspondence with the 6 mission statements and the 10 essential services of public health described in Public Health in America. This analysis ends that modernization efforts have not been universally effective in ensuring that the legislative basis of public health is commensurate with the accepted scope of authority necessary to support health agency's performance. Given the importance of law modernization in public health, this analysis highlights the importance of model statutory language in facilitating the codication of the mission and essential services of public health in state law. As a result, this research provides the practice community with a research base to facilitate statutory reform and develops a framework for future scholarship on the role of law as a determinant of the public's health.
Meier, Benjamin and Ashley Fox. 2010. "International Obligations through Collective Rights: Moving from Foreign Health Assistance to Global Health Governance." Health and Human Rights12 (61).
Abstract: This article analyzes the growing chasm between international power and state responsibility in health rights, proposing an international legal framework for collective rights, rights that can reform international institutions and empower developing states to realize the determinants of health structured by global forces. With longstanding recognition that many developing state governments cannot realize the health of their peoples without international cooperation, scholars have increasingly sought to codify international obligations under the purview of an evolving human right to health, applying this rights-based approach as a foundational framework for reducing global health inequalities through foreign assistance. Yet the inherent limitations of the individual human rights framework stymie the right to health in impacting the global institutions that are most crucial for realizing underlying determinants of health through the strengthening of primary health care systems. Whereas the right to health has been advanced as an individual right to be realized by a state duty-bearer, rnthe authors find that this limited, atomized right has proven insufficient to create accountability for international obligations in global health policy, enabling the deterioration of primary health care systems that lack the ability to address an expanding set of public health claims. For rights scholars to advance disease protection and health promotion through national primary health care systems, creating the international legal obligations necessary to spur development supportive of the public's health. The authors conclude that scholars must look beyond the individual right to health to create collective international legal obligations commensurate with a public health-centered rnapproach to primary health care. Through the development and implementation of rnthese collective health rights, states can address interconnected determinants of health within and across countries, obligating the international community to scale-up primary health care systems in the developing world and thereby reduce public health inequities through global health governance.
Meier, Benjamin. 2010. "Global Health Governance and the Contentious Politics of Human Rights: Mainstreaming the Right to Health for Public Health Advancement." Stanford Journal of International Law 46 (1).
Abstract: This Article chronicles the evolution of a human right to health, focusing rnon WHO?s role in developing and implementing these legal obligations. Through rnlegal analysis of treaty language and historical analysis of treaty travaux préparatoires (official preparatory documents)?complemented by archival research examining the internal communications of both the U.N. and WHO?this research examines WHO?s contributions to (and, in many cases, negligence of) the evolution of the right to health, analyzing how WHO has mediated the translation of health discourse into health rights. While other studies have examined the treaty language of the right to health, no previous study has examined the underlying organizational discourses that developed the basis for international treaty negotiations. Only through an analysis of these institutional communications in global health governance does it become possible to understand the seminal competing norms that culminated in the international legal language of the human right to health, highlighting the institutions underlying the successes and failures of those norms in achieving state obligations for health.

Substantive Focus:
Law and Policy
Health Policy
International Relations
Science and Technology Policy
Social Policy
Comparative Public Policy

Theoretical Focus:
Policy History
Policy Process Theory
Agenda-Setting, Adoption, and Implementation
Policy Analysis and Evaluation