Courses Taught

Public Health Law (HPM213)

This course examines the many ways in which the law impacts the public health. Among the questions explored are: What authority does the government have to regulate in the interest of public health? How are individual rights balanced against this authority? What are the promises and pitfalls of using laws and litigation to achieve public health goals? The course investigates these issues as they operate a range of specific contexts in public health and medical care, including the control and prevention of HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases, tobacco regulation, rights to have and refuse medical care, reproductive health, and lawsuits against tobacco and gun companies. The course emphasizes constitutional law, but also touches on criminal law, tort law and intellectual property law. Instruction is through interactive lectures with a significant amount of class discussion. Most classes will revolve around two to three legal cases. The previous year’s syllabus is available on the course website.  No previous background in law is needed.

This course is taught annually at the Harvard School of Public Health.  In 2008-2009, it is offered in Spring2.

Ethical Basis of the Practice of Public Health (ID251)

This course is intended to provide physicians and public health professionals with an understanding of the manner in which politics, economic concerns, law, and ethics interact in health care policy decisions. Through discussion of legal cases and articles from medical and ethics literature, we will explore such topics as rationing and scarcity, rights to health, the physician-patient relationship, research ethics, and maternal/fetal conflicts.

This course is taught annually in the Summer1 period at the Harvard School of Public Health.  It fulfills the Ethics core requirement for the MPH program.  More information is available on the course website.

Law and Public Health (LAW-40218A)

This course examines the many ways in which the law impacts the public’s health. Among the questions explored are: What is the scope of the government’s authority to regulate in the interest of public health? How are individual rights balanced against this authority? What are the strengths and weaknesses of legislation, administrative regulation, and litigation as means to achieve public health goals? In what ways does the law obstruct the achievement of public health goals? How has public health law been influenced by the broader political environment? The course investigates these issues as they operate a range of specific contexts in public health and medical care, including bioterrorism, control of HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases, tobacco regulation, rights to have and refuse medical care, genetic privacy, reproductive health, access to pharmaceuticals, and class action suits against tobacco, gun, and food companies. The course emphasizes constitutional law, but also incorporates criminal law, torts, and intellectual property. A previous course in constitutional law is not required, but instruction is geared towards those who have had some prior exposure to basic constitutional law principles. There will be an in-class examination and no paper option.

This course is taught at Harvard Law School (not taught in 2008-2009).