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LAW 0954: Public Health Law (Can be taken concurrently with Empirical Legal Research Methods)
Spring 2024 • 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.   


Day/Time Location Note
M 4:00-5:50 PM Klein 1C Every other week starting the first week of the semester (7 in-person meetings).
M 4:00-5:50 PM Online Meeting Plus 7 weeks of asynchronous assignments during the weeks class does not meet in person

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 (2 credits). A limited number of students may take it as a writing seminar (this 3 credit version will count toward the Public Health Law Certificate.) Request course number 631 to take this course as an exam course. Register with course number 954 to take this course as a writing seminar (CRN 48080). This course is designed to allow simultaneous enrollment in Empirical Legal Research Methods. NOTE: 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. 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. Please contact with any registration issue preventing you from enrolling.

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