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LAW 0954: Public Health Law (Can be taken concurrently with Empirical Legal Research Methods)
Spring 2022 • Section 22 • CRN 48080

Course Description

This course surveys the broad terrain of law and the public's health. It covers both the "laws on the books" and the problems of actually implementing these laws in the often highly politicized and culturally sensitive context of health and behavior. Topics include the basic powers, duties and limitations of state health authorities in the United States; the epidemiological influence of law on health and health behavior; the global system of health governance; and the application of a human rights framework to health issues. Health topic areas covered include communicable diseases (HIV, SARS, emerging infections), tobacco, substance abuse, chronic diseases and infections. We will also devote considerable time to reading about and discussing how health is "socially constructed" and how stigma, economic self-interest and other cultural responses to disease complicate efforts to promote public health.Students will write a research paper of significant length. Both Law students and students seeking a Masters in Public Health will participate in the course. The course will be taught in a seven week block in the first half of the Fall. It will be followed by a seven week course in Empirical Legal Research Methods. (This Public Health Law course is a prerequisite for Public Health students enrolling in the Empirical Legal Research Course, but not for Law students.) A "flipped classroom" approach will be used, in which most of the lecture material will be presented in videos and other on-line materials and reading outside of class, and most of class time will be a discussion of public health law policy and issues. Graduate Students should register with CRN 3821.


Day/Time Location Note
M 4:00-5:50 PM Barrack 102 Meets Mondays for 7 Weeks: 8/26 - 10/14

Course Details

  • Scott Burris
  • Adam Herpolsheimer
Credit Hours

3 Credits



Course Type
  • Writing
Course Modality


Fulfills J.D. Requirement
  • Writing Research


Registration Info

Registration Notes

This course is offered as a "hybrid" course. Most students take it as an exam course. A limited number of students may take it as a writing seminar. Request course number 631 to take this course as an exam course. Request course number 954 to take this course as a writing seminar (CRN 48080). The course will be taught in a seven week block in the first half of semester. NOTE 1: This course will have an in person class meetings from 4 pm to 5:50 pm on Mondays beginning on January 10, 2022 and ending on March 7, 2022. Students will also be responsible for completing 2 hours per week of online "asynchronous" course content, and another 14 hours per week (on average) of "out-of-class" work in preparing readings, assignments, and the research paper. The paper will be due 4 weeks after the last class meeting. NOTE 2: This will be one of four courses offered in collaboration with the College of Public Health as the basis for a Certificate in Public Health Law (pending approval). The other courses include Empirical Legal Research Methods offered by the Law School and two courses that will be offered by the College of Public Health (Multivariate Statistics and Health Law Research Project). Over the four course set, students will learn to conceptualize, design and conduct an evaluation research project. This course is designed to be taken in sequence with Empirical Legal Research class, which occurs in the same time slot in the second half of the semester. .JD students who do not wish to get the Certificate will still be able to take the two law school courses, as part of the normal JD curriculum.

Equivalent Courses

You may not register for this course if you are enrolled in or have already taken the following:

  • LAW 0631 (Public Health Law (Can be taken concurrently with Empirical Legal Research Methods))

Book List/Materials