Leo Beletsky

Associate Professor
  • Department of Health Sciences
  • School of Law

Office: 40 Cargill Hall
Phone: 617.373.5540
Email: l.beletsky@neu.edu

Leo Beletsky, JD, MPH is an Associate Professor of Law and Health Sciences with a joint appointment at the School of Law and Bouvé School of Health Sciences, where he is also a faculty scholar with the Institute on Urban Health Research. Leo is an interdisciplinary social epidemiologist whose interest is in the role of law and law enforcement as structural determinants of health. His intervention design and implementation science research focuses on the use of policy interventions to improve population health and equity. With support from NIH, USAID, and Open Society Foundations, among others, his domestic and international projects span drug policy, prevention of HIV and other infectious diseases, human rights, law enforcement practice, and evidence-based healthcare. Prior to joining Northeastern, Leo was on faculty at the Division of Global Public Health at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, where he retains an Adjunct appointment and is spending 2017 on research leave from Northeastern.


Education/degrees:        JD, MPH

Certification:                   New York State Bar

Specializations:             Social Epidemiology, Public Health Policy, Health Equity


Research Interests:

  • Drug policy,
  • Prevention of HIV and other infectious diseases
  • Criminal justice policy
  • Health and human rights
  • Evidence-based healthcare


Selected Research/Scholarship Projects to Highlight:

  • Police Training to Reduce Occupational Needlesticks and HIV among Substance Users, Sponsored by NIDA (PI). The goal of this project is to support a longitudinal assessment of the impact of a police education intervention designed to shift police knowledge, attitudes and practices on occupational safety and HIV prevention among people who use drugs.
  • Optimizing the Impact of Drug Policy Reform on the HIV Risk Environment among IDUs in Tijuana, Mexico, Sponsored by NIDA (Co-Investigator). The purpose of this project is to evaluate the impact and assess the implementation barriers to the enactment of Mexico’s new drug policy on the risk environment of injection drug users.
  • Facing the Opioid Epidemic (FOE): Assessing and Responding to Prescription and Illicit Opioid Use and Misuse, Sponsored by Tufts CTSI (Co-PI). The goal of this project is to assess the implementation of prescription monitoring programs using qualitative methods.


Key Experiential Learning Opportunities for Students (undergraduate and graduate):

  • Drug policy research
  • Health and human rights research


Public Service:  

  • Pro-bono service for Baltimore and New York City departments of health and numerous NGOs
  • Peer reviewer to a number of public health journals
  • Advisory committee for the Law Enforcement and Harm Reduction Network
  • Technical advisory group, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria



  • Drug Law and Policy
  • Global Health
  • Quantitative and Analytical Reasoning


Main Collaborators/Affiliations (outside NEU):

  • Adjunct Professor, UCSD School of Medicine