Matthew Penn, JD, MLIS

Photo: Matthew Penn

Office of Public Health Law Services

Photo: Matthew Penn

Current Role

As director of the Office of Public Health Law Services within CDC’s Center for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support, Matthew Penn, JD, MLIS, provides critical legal expertise and leadership to advance public health practice through law and legal epidemiology. In this role, Mr. Penn leads a team of public health advisors and analysts in supporting practitioners and policy makers at the state, tribal, local, and territorial levels through the development of practical, law-centered tools and legal preparedness to address public health priorities.


Prior to joining CDC, Mr. Penn served for 9 years as a staff attorney for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. In this position, he provided in-house counsel and litigation services on legal issues in the areas of health services delivery, public health law, HIPAA, environmental health, disease control, public health and bioterrorism preparedness, and health regulation.

From August 2001 to May 2007, Mr. Penn served as a legal writing instructor at the University of South Carolina Law School. After law school and the bar exam, he worked as a staff attorney with the South Carolina Supreme Court, which allowed him to study how the law directly interacts with people’s lives and how cases work their way through the court system.

During law school, Mr. Penn clerked for the Office of General Counsel at the University of South Carolina and interned with the South Carolina Environmental Law Project. He credits these two experiences with his decision to dedicate his legal career to public service.


Mr. Penn earned his undergraduate degree in English from the University of Georgia and his master’s degree in library and information science and doctor of jurisprudence from the University of South Carolina.