Contact Information

debra.lappin@FaegreBD.com1050 K Street NW, Suite 400

Washington, DC 20001

T: +1 202 312 7496
F: +1 202 312 7441


University of Denver College of Law
J.D., Order of St. Ives (1977)
University of Denver
B.A., magna cum laude (1972)
Meet Debra Lappin

Debra R. Lappin


Debra Lappin serves as a principal with FaegreBD Consulting, leading the health and biosciences team. Her work spans the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

Debra is a creative force in the design of innovative public-private partnerships, collaborative research and development agreements, and other alliances that drive research translation and commercialization, bring novel financing mechanisms into early phase drug development, and build bridges across sectors. Drawing upon her understanding of health agency trends, law, ethics and practical funding challenges, Debra advises on the development of a broad range of strategies to align stakeholders; develop inter-disciplinary engagements to approach a policy, market or product challenge; and drive measurable results. She has special expertise in advising on the development of new tools to enable translation, such as disease registries, large integrated databases, bio-specimen repositories and cross-institution affiliations to share data.

Debra is a leading strategist in health and science policy. Her leadership of coalitions, global consortia and other strategic alliances has included the design and execution of campaigns on public access to scientific communications, genetic non-discrimination, and safe injection practices and reduction of medication errors across all health care settings. Today, Debra leads efforts to advance maternal immunizations to meet unmet public health needs, develop incentives to move repurposed drugs forward in the treatment of rare disease, and most significantly, to develop a global clinical trial network that supports clinical trial innovation and advances drug development in Alzheimer's disease.
Calling upon her experiences as former national chair of the Arthritis Foundation, Debra is a recognized national spokesperson on public engagement and patient-centricity in science and medicine. She serves or has served as an advisor to the leaders of federal health agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She also has participated on a number of committees at the National Academy of Sciences, including the Committee on the Organizational Structure of the NIH that led to a number of reforms now institutionalized at NIH. Debra is President of the Council for American Medical Innovation and a member of the Board of Research! America.

Faculty Positions

  • University of Colorado Health Sciences Center — Department of Medicine, Adjunct Faculty, teaching biomedical ethics in graduate program for clinical research, 1999-2004

Professional Associations

  • Council for American Medical Innovation — President
  • Research!America — Board Member
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — Former Advisory Committee to the Director
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) — Former Committee on Organizational Structure
  • Arthritis Foundation — Former National Chair and Trustee Emeritus
  • National Library of Medicine — Former PubMed Central Advisory Committee
  • National Institutes of Health Counsel of Public Representatives — Charter Member
  • Institute of Medicine — Former Committee on National Immunization Policy Data Sharing


  • Exploring New Avenues to Accelerate Research
    Moderator, Indiana Life Sciences Summit, Indianapolis, October 15, 2014
  • Voyaging to the Future
    The National Library of Medicine Symposium, Bethesda, Maryland, May 14, 2014
  • Winning in Washington: When Your "Legal" Problem Requires a D.C. Playbook
    Panelist, National Association of Women Lawyers Ninth Annual General Counsel Institute, November 8, 2013
  • Promoting Basic Research in a New Age of Communications: Challenges and Opportunities
    Moderator, Research Matters Communications Workshop, Research!America, October 9, 2013
  • Buttressing an Innovation Culture
    Panelist, National Health Research Forum, Research!America, September 12, 2013
  • Advancing New Horizons: Focusing on Collaboration and Public-Private Partnerships
    Panelist, Glaucoma 360 New Horizons Forum, Glaucoma Research Foundation, San Francisco, February 1, 2013
  • Clinical Utility and Patient Centricity
    Austen BioInnovation Institute, Akron, Ohio, April 23, 2012
  • Intellectual Property: The Negotiators' Debate
    Moderator, Partnering for Cures, Washington, D.C., November 7, 2011
  • Medical Innovation at a Crossroads: A National Discussion
    Moderator, The Newseum, Washington, D.C., January 12, 2011
  • Medical Innovation and U.S. Health Care Reform: In Concert or At Odds?
    Moderator, Israel Life Sciences Institute, Tel Aviv, June 2010
  • Designing Innovative Medical Research Systems
    Moderator, Milken Institute Global Conference, Los Angeles, April 26, 2010
    [ View the Video ]
  • Enhancing the Vitality of the National Institutes of Health
    Inaugural Meeting of the NIH Scientific Management and Review Board, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, April 27, 2009
  • Science in the Service of the Economy and America's Health
    Podcast, Research!America National Forum, Washington, D.C., March 24, 2009
  • The 21st Century Patient — A New Partnership With the Biomedical Enterprise
    Joseph Leiter Lecture, National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, Maryland, May 14, 2008


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