Leo Beletsky

Assistant 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 Assistant Professor of Law and Health Sciences with a joint appointment at the School of Law and BouvéSchool 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 and the use of policy interventions to improve population health. With funding from the NIH, USAID, and Open Society Foundations, his domestic and international research spans drug policy, prevention of HIV and other infectious diseases, health and human rights, criminal justice policy, and evidence-based healthcare. Prior to joining Northeastern, Leo was an Assistant Professor with the Division of Global Public Health at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, where he retains an Adjunct appointment. 

Education/degrees:        JD, MPH

Certification:                   New York State Bar

Specializations:             Drug and pharmaceutical policy, HIV and other infectious disease, health and human rights 

Research Interests:

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

Selected Research/Scholarship Projects to Highlight:

  • Harnessing Interdisciplinary Perspectives to Inform Effective Health Policy and Law in HIV/AIDS Response, sponsored by the Northeastern University Program in Health Law and Policy. (Principal Investigator)

    The purpose of this project is to convene a series of interdisciplinary workshops called “HIV Policy Grand Rounds,” presenting a particular policy discourse on HIV control and offer it up for critiques by other investigators, invited discussants, and members of the audience.



  • Optimizing the Measurement of Policy and Policing Influences in the IDU Risk Environment, sponsored by NIDA (Co-Investigator).

    The purpose of this project is to develop a preliminary version of an optimized, calibrated instrument used to assess the influence of policy and policing practices in the risk environment of injection drug users (IDUs). 

  • 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.

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
  • Policy editor board at the Overdose Prevention Alliance
  • Member of the Consortium for Police Leadership in Equity 


  • Drug law and policy
  • Global health
  • Mixed methods research

Main Collaborators/Affiliations (outside NEU):

  • Adjunct Professor, UCSD School of Medicine 

Publications: see http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=567550