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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.

Environmental and Occupational Health Law and Policy

Description: Examines the legal systems, institutions and policies upon which environmental and occupational health protection are based. Focuses on how US and international environmental and occupational health laws, regulations and policies apply to public health and evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of laws as intervention tools. Topics covered include significant US federal environmental and occupational health statutes (for example, the Clean Air Act, Superfund, Community Right-to-Know, Safe Drinking Water Act, Occupational Safety and Health Act), international environmental law principles and treaties, international human rights issues, how laws deals with emerging health issues and environmental justice and facility siting.

Health Advocacy

Description: 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.

Health Policy II: Public Health Policy Formulation

Description: Explores the considerations, activities and participants involved in the formulation of public health policy. Examines the process of selecting and assessing policy options, and discusses the role that various players have in the making of health policy. Through the analyses of case studies, students learn how policy-makers interact, and how outside influences such as the media and advocates help shape policy. Presents basic legal principles that govern health policy, and discusses the roles of economics and ethics in policy formulation.

Human Rights for Public Health Practitioners

Description: 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

Description: 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

Description: 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.

Public Health Agencies: Law, Policy, and Practice

Description: 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.

Public Health and the Law

Description: 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.

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