In The News

Valerie H. Bonham, NIH Veteran and Leader in Biomedical Research Compliance and Bioethics, Joins Ropes & Gray as Health Care Counsel
Bonham Brings Significant Experience from the National Institutes of Health and the President’s Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues

Practices: Health Care, Life Sciences, Clinical Research, Digital Health, FDA Regulatory, Health Privacy & Security, Data, Privacy & Cybersecurity, Regulatory Enforcement & Civil Litigation, Litigation, Incident Response and Preparedness

Global law firm Ropes & Gray today announced that Valerie H. Bonham has joined its Washington, D.C. office as counsel in the firm’s health care and life sciences practice.

Bringing nearly 20 years of experience as a leader in health care, life sciences and public policy at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Ms. Bonham is a skilled health care attorney and nationally recognized expert in research compliance, investigations and bioethics. She joins Ropes & Gray from the National Institutes of Health where she served as a Senior Advisor in the Office of the NIH Director and a Senior Attorney in the Office of the General Counsel.

Ms. Bonham has led cross-cutting policy development and oversight efforts for NIH focused on research, compliance, integrity and data sharing. She has also led special investigations and initiatives for the NIH Offices of Extramural Research, Science Policy, Legislative Policy and Intramural Research.

For more than a decade, Ms. Bonham served as a senior attorney in the HHS Office of General Counsel, working primarily with the NIH and other HHS components involved in research, disease prevention, health care delivery and global health. In this role, she provided legal advice on the development and implementation of regulations, policies, public-private partnerships and enforcement programs. She served as lead counsel to the NIH Clinical Center, a 300-bed clinical research hospital. Her experience included regular engagement with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Office of Human Research Protections, the Office for Civil Rights, the Office of the Inspector General, and the U.S. Congress.

In addition, Ms. Bonham served as executive director for the President’s Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. As the staff director to this White House advisory committee of senior academic and government leaders, Ms. Bonham produced policy proposals for science and technology sectors, federal agencies, universities and research institutions. Ms. Bonham oversaw development of three widely praised public reports for President Obama, including in-depth investigations into U.S.-funded clinical research around the globe and the examination of U.S.-led syphilis experiments in Guatemala that included the use of human subjects who were unknowingly infected with the disease.

“Clients will benefit from the experience and knowledge Val brings to Ropes & Gray from having worked across government agencies on landmark health care legal and ethical matters. She has worked at the highest levels of government and expands our cross-practice capabilities for clients in government investigations and enforcement matters, regulatory compliance and privacy and data security,” said Deborah Gersh, co-chair of Ropes & Gray’s health care practice.

“Val immediately enhances our offering to health care and life sciences clients in Ropes & Gray’s Washington, D.C. office through her unique perspective and deep understanding of the complex legal, compliance and regulatory landscape for research,” said Mark Barnes, health care partner who chairs the firm’s clinical research practice.

“Ropes & Gray’s health care practice is widely recognized as among the nation’s best. My decision to join the firm is based on the types of challenging and innovative matters brought by Ropes & Gray’s clients to the firm and the sophisticated level of practice the firm’s attorneys demonstrate each year,” said Ms. Bonham.

Prior to joining HHS, Ms. Bonham served as a health care associate in the Washington, D.C. office of a national law firm where she represented health care providers, pharmaceutical and life sciences companies in connection with the False Claims Act, fraud, abuse and privacy related investigations and litigation.

Ms. Bonham received her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law, and her B.A. in Ethics and History of Public Policy & Law, from Rice University. She also received training in epidemiology and biostatics from John Hopkins University School of Public Health and a certificate in Executive Leadership from American University.

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