Health Law: Improving Public Health


Course Code:
LAW 762
Law Honors/Pass/R credit/Fail


This course examines how the law can be used to improve the public's health. The major themes 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 benefits and pitfalls of using laws and litigation to achieve public health goals? The course investigates these issues as they operate in a range of specific contexts in public health, including the control and prevention of infectious disease; laws aimed at preventing obesity and associated noncommunicable diseases; tobacco regulation; ensuring access to medical care; reproductive health; lawsuits against tobacco, food, and gun companies; and public health emergencies. In these contexts, we will ask and answer questions such as, what do the Constitution and key statutes permit? What makes a good public health law? What does public health evidence tell us about the likely effectiveness of particular legal interventions? What ethical and economic arguments justify government intervention to shape individuals' and companies' health-related behaviors? Instruction is through interactive lectures with a significant amount of class discussion and some group exercises. Class Participation, Written Assignments, Final Exam. Cross-listed with Medicine (MED 237).

Past Offerings

2014-2015 Spring

Health Law: Improving Public Health LAW 762 Section 01 Class #30501

  • 3 Units

Notes: One-Day Take-Home Exam.

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