About Us

The Public Health Advocacy Institute

The Public Health Advocacy Institute (PHAI), founded in 1979, is a legal research and advocacy center focused on public health law. It is an independent 501(c)(3) organization located at Northeastern University School of Law (NUSL). In 2019, PHAI launched UnitedOnGuns, a nonpartisan initiative that unites professionals from different disciplines (health, law enforcement, law, and government) to promote public health approaches to reduce gun violence, while respecting the rights of responsible gun owners.

Our Team

Sarah C. Peck, J.D., Director, UnitedOnGuns
Before co-founding UnitedOnGuns, Ms. Peck served as a U.S. diplomat for fifteen years. Her overseas service includes Afghanistan and Iraq, where she advised senior policy makers on national security issues and promoted democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. Prior to her diplomatic career, Ms. Peck practiced law as a litigator at Goodwin Procter and Sunstein in Boston, and as corporate counsel in Paris. She is a graduate of the University of Florida and NUSL.

Emily Nink, MS, CPH, PHAI Policy Associate
Ms. Nink assists local governments pursuing public health policies. Ms. Nink provides legal and policy research for public health topics, including tobacco regulation, regulations of packaged beverages, interventions to improve safe drinking water, and school nutrition. Ms. Nink was the lead researcher for the UnitedOnGuns Mass Shooting Protocol & Playbook. She earned her M.S. through the Agriculture, Food and Environment program at the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy in Boston. Prior to joining PHAI, she provided research assistance at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, at the Friedman School, and at Food Tank.

Mark Gottlieb, J.D., PHAI Executive Director
Mr. Gottlieb joined PHAI in 1993 after graduating from Northeastern University School of Law (NUSL). His efforts have focused on researching tobacco litigation as a public health strategy as director of the Tobacco Products Liability Project, reducing the harm caused by secondhand tobacco smoke through a variety of legal and policy approaches, fostering scholarship using tobacco industry documents, examining legal and policy approaches to address obesity, and, more recently, researching public health approaches to reducing gun violence. Mark is an adjunct professor at NUSL where he teaches and operates the Public Health Legal Clinic.

Our Advisors

Richard A. Daynard, J.D., Ph.D., PHAI President
Professor Daynard holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School, an M.A. in Sociology from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. from M.I.T. in Urban Studies and Planning (specializing in Law and Social Policy). He is a University Distinguished Professor of Law at Northeastern University and the founder of the Public Health Advocacy Institute (PHAI) at Northeastern University School of Law. Professor Daynard is devoted to combating the epidemics caused by tobacco and, more recently, obesity and gun violence. He has published over 80 articles, appeared in or been interviewed by major international media programs, and spoken on these issues in more than 50 countries.

Dr. Matthew Miller, MD, MPH, ScD, Public Health and Firearm Injury Prevention Expert
Dr. Miller, a physician, is Professor of Health Sciences and Epidemiology at Northeastern University, Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, and Co-Director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center. Dr. Miller is an expert in injury and violence prevention. His research encompasses intentional and unintentional injury, with an emphasis on firearm-related violence and suicide prevention. Dr. Miller is also Assistant Editor of the journal Injury Epidemiology and a recipient of the Excellence in Science Award from the American Public Health Association.

Dr. Peter T. Masiakos, MS, MD, FACS, FAAP, Surgeon, Massachusetts General Hospital
Dr. Masiakos is a pediatric and thoracic surgeon at Mass General and an Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School. He is the director of the pediatric trauma surgery service at Mass General and an injury-prevention advocate. Dr. Masiakos has focused on educating lawmakers on the risks certain products pose to children. He is the co-founder of Mass General’s Center for Gun Violence Prevention, a multidisciplinary initiative dedicated to preventing firearm-related violence and promoting safety in the homes and communities of the hospital serves.

Robert A. Jones, Executive Director of Security, former FBI senior official
Mr. Jones is a 24-year veteran of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. His distinguished career includes domestic and international assignments, and expertise in the areas of counterterrorism, intelligence, and weapons of mass destruction. Notably, Mr. Jones was the Special Agent in Charge of the Pittsburgh Field Office, where he led the law enforcement response to the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting. He is currently the Executive Director of Security for a professional sports team. Mr. Jones received a BA in Administration of Justice from the Pennsylvania State University and a master’s degree in social science from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Public Affairs. Prior to joining the FBI, Mr. Jones served as a U.S. Marine Corps infantry officer.

James Alan Fox , Ph.D., The Lipman Family Professor of Criminology, Law, and Public Policy at Northeastern University
Professor Fox is a widely recognized expert on mass shootings. He has published 18 books, dozens of journal and magazine articles, and hundreds of freelance columns in newspapers around the country, primarily in the areas of mass murder, youth crime, school and campus violence, workplace violence, and capital punishment. He is a member of USA Today’s Board of Contributors, where his column appears regularly. In addition, he was the founding editor of the Journal of Quantitative Criminology.

Mary Harvey, Ph.D., Director, Violence Transformed, Community Trauma Expert
Mary R. Harvey, Ph.D. is the Founding Director of Violence Transformed, a unique arts, public health and social justice initiative. In addition, Dr. Harvey is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and founding director (now retired) of the Victims of Violence (VOV) Program of the Cambridge Health Alliance. A community and clinical psychologist, she has lectured widely and written extensively about the ecological context of interpersonal and sexual violence, the treatment of psychological trauma, and expressions of recovery and resiliency in trauma survivors. She continues to serve as a Senior Psychologist at the Victims of Violence Program and, as an emerging artist, has exhibited her work at both Violence Transformed and other area venues.