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Center for Law and the Public’s Health

Courses at JHSPH

The courses below are taught at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and address aspects of law and public health. For additional information, click on course names to be directed to the course catalog.

Public Health and the Law

Introduces non-lawyers to the important role played by the law in determining the public's health. Students analyze judicial opinions, statutes, and regulations in classroom discussions. Covers substantive legal topics including the balance between individual rights and public health initiatives, privacy, medical malpractice, and informed consent.

Public Health Agencies: Law, Policy, and Practice

Explores the important and expanding role that regulatory or administrative agencies, such as FDA and EPA, play in protecting and promoting the public’s health. Examines agencies’ ability to create and implement health policy, and discusses the legal limits on agency powers. Discusses how agencies develop regulations and employ other regulatory tools. Uses case studies to illustrate key concepts, such as the role of science in the regulatory process and the influence of politics on agency actions. Class sessions involve the interpretation and analysis of judicial opinions, regulations, and other administrative materials. Focuses on U.S. regulatory policy, but also examines examples and implications for international health policy. This course builds on the skills introduced in 306.650, and exposes students to new public health law and policy topics relevant to regulatory agencies.

Clinic for Public Health Law and Policy

The Clinic for Public Health Law and Policy explores the role of law and policy as tools to advance public health and provides a unique experiential learning opportunity for students to help solve real, current and compelling public health problems. By taking on a public health issue for which there is not yet a readily available solution, students are challenged to explore and evaluate the effectiveness and feasibility of innovative legal, policy and regulatory strategies that address the issue.

Introduction to Environmental and Occupational Health Law

Examines US and international environmental and occupational health laws and regulations. Covers significant US federal laws, such as the Clean Air Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, Superfund, the Toxic Substances Control Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, the Resource, Conservation and Recovery Act and significant international treaties and laws, such as the European Union’s REACH legislation, with a particular emphasis on how they influence public health intervention strategies. Also introduces students to the agencies that administer worker health and environmental protection programs.

Health Advocacy

Prepares health professionals, (from government health officials, business leaders, non-profit organization representatives to scientists) to advance public health policy improvements. Through lectures, extensive group exercises and a "mock" congressional hearing, students develop the skills to evaluate the policymaking process, create opportunities to inform and influence policymaking, and become more effective in translating and communicating in a policymaking environment.

Human Rights in Public Health Practice

Considers human rights as a tool, an analytical framework, and a source of ethical guidance in public health practice. Reviews basic concepts in human rights and examines how human rights can contribute to the work of public health practitioners in a variety of roles. These include analysis of public health problems, design of programs, the setting of public health policy, decision-making in day to day practice, research on human rights and public health. Also considers a human rights standard for ethical practice in public health and the linkages between public health practice and the work of human rights organizations in advancing human rights in health.

Issues in Injury and Violence Prevention

Addresses prominent sources of injury, including motor vehicles, falls, fires, and firearms. Explores the biological, behavioral, and social issues relating to injury and violence prevention and policy. Emphasizes basic strategies for preventing injuries and deaths in the workplace, home, travel, and recreation, and the relative effectiveness of various types of approaches. Students who wish to write a paper may sign up for extra credit as special studies.

Legal and Public Health Issues in the Regulation of Intimacy

Examines the ways in which the state regulates intimate and private relations and the justifications for such regulation. Particularly focuses on the attention paid to the public health and morality justifications offered by the state for the enactment and enforcement of privacy laws. Topics include: when state regulation of intimate decisions, actions and relationships is justified; the regulation of consensual sexual activity; the regulation of contraception and abortion; the regulation of same-sex sexual activity; and the regulation of same-sex marriage.

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