715 Torts - §002, Fall 2008

Categories: Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution Torts

Instructor(s) Charo, R. Alta

Public health law has traditionally encompassed topics such
as quarantine, vaccination programs, and population surveillance.  This
course will cover those traditional topics, as well as emerging areas of public
health policy associated with the intersection between public health and
bioterrorism threats; public health and immigration policy; juvenile and
domestic violence as public health problems; drug policy; and environmental
health.  Overall, this new course that will emphasize the core legal
competencies associated with public health ethics and policy, including:

Understanding the distribution of authority among federal, state and local
governments, as well as the role of courts and administrative agencies in the interpretation
and application of public health powers.

Understanding the scope of the governments power with regard to population
surveillance, containment of infectious disease, promotion of lifestyle
changes, and punishment of destructive  behaviors.  It also comprises
a review of border control with respect to both goods and persons;
environmental regulation; and forensic investigation powers in the event of
criminal or terrorist attacks via the introduction of disease-causing agents.

Understanding the special scope and distribution of governmental powers during
times of local or national emergency.

Understanding the constitutional and political constraints on public health
interventions due to competing concerns surrounding individual autonomy, personal
privacy, bodily integrity, and property ownership.

Understanding the contours of the most significant public health functions of
the government, e.g. enforcing sanitary measures; licensing health care
professionals; ensuring a safe drug/device/biologics/food supply; providing
scientifically accurate and unbiased health information; identifying and
managing emerging threats.

Understanding the ethical challenges posed by population-based research
(surveillance, medical record review, tissue collection, psychological
research) with special attention to the protection of historically
disadvantaged or vulnerable populations.

-- Time permitting, an examination of eugenics and genetic screening programs
as an aspect of public health politics and policy, both historically and in
contemporary context.

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