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This article discusses an interdisciplinary and community-engaged public health law course that was developed as part of The Future of Public Health Law Education faculty fellowship program. Law and public health students worked collaboratively to assist a local health department in preparing for the law-related aspects of Public Health Accreditation Board review.
This fellowship project addressed the need to increase diversity in public health law. Non-traditional delivery methods of education, such as synchronous online classes and offering courses during an intersession between regular semesters and in the evenings, expanded the opportunities for diverse students to learn about the field and have meaningful internship experiences in public health law. Synchronous distance education is the wave of the future for law teaching and has particular significance in the teaching of public health law.
This article describes implementation of a longitudinal curriculum in public health law, building on doctrinal coursework with skills-based coursework and opportunities for interdisciplinary, community-based engagement and service learning. It specifically describes development of a Policy Practicum, giving an example of how law students can learn policy skills and skills of effective community coalition work through a healthy homes partnership, highlighting areas where the curriculum can incorporate interdisciplinary education. It offers lessons learned during the curriculum-building process, and concludes with a more intensive service-learning strategy through the development of a Policy Lab.
This article outlines the author's experience designing and implementing an asynchronous online course. Designed as a complement to public health law externships at any location, the course addresses professionalism and strategic lawyering. The article further describes the author's fellowship journey, which emboldened her view that faculty must attempt to live the expectations we have for our students, and also declare our professional values, especially when teaching about policymaking which is fraught with values conflicts. It concludes with a call for others to pilot innovative teaching approaches to address both the crisis in legal education and pressing societal issues, thereby contributing to the health of our legal community.
The goal of this project was to expand an existing public health law curriculum to incorporate lessons on population health outcomes research, extra-legal advocacy, and the population health perspective. The project also created opportunities for students not only to read about and discuss concepts, but also to employ the lessons more practically through exercises and by writing white papers on public health law reform topics relevant to population health in Missouri. To do this, the project expanded an existing didactic course and created a new credit-bearing, experiential “Lab.”
Lawyers are most often portrayed and understood to be zealous advocates for individual clients in adversarial litigation or zero-sum transactions. Law schools provide excellent preparation for this type of lawyer role, but lawyers' unique understanding of the law is also needed for systemic advocacy, policymaking, and legal education to solve the most difficult societal problems. An interdisciplinary public health law class is one way for law schools to provide students an opportunity to explore and develop these other professional identities.
This article describes why and how the author started a medical-legal partnership at her small law school, the curricula associated with the medical-legal partnership, and the experience she and her students have had with the curricula to date. It also provides “lessons learned” which may be useful for individuals interested in expanding interdisciplinary and experiential opportunities at institutions that presently lack traditional sources of such opportunities.
The author created a new course, called “Seminar in Public Health Law and Policy in an Interprofessional Setting” to address the need for interprofessional education (IPE) to equip graduate and professional students for collaborative practice at the systemic and policy (i.e., macro”) levels in the health care and public health fields. Despite important work being done at the clinical practice level, limited existing IPE models examine larger systemic issues. The course is designed specifically to enable students in social work, law, and public health to recognize the reciprocal relationships between policy and interprofessional collaborative practice, including the need for understanding of the impact of team-practice work at the system and policy levels.
This interdisciplinary course, which included students from medicine, public health, law, and public policy, explored the concept of “prevention” and the role of law and public policy preventing disease and injury and improving population health. In addition to interdisciplinary course content, students worked in interdisciplinary teams on public health law and policy projects at community organizations and agencies.
“Law in Public Health Practice” is an interdisciplinary, practice-based course in which the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public Health, its School of Law, and the Allegheny County Health Department work collaboratively to identify an issue needing the expertise of multiple disciplines. For the first iteration, students in over four disciplines explored the possible regulation of tattoo parlors. The lessons learned are adaptable to any topic that engages students in more than one discipline to address real-world public health problems.
Reflecting on their service as mentors in the fellowship program, the authors describe their experiences and offer thoughts on lessons learned about mentoring, individuals' roles in institutional changes, their own professional growth, and implications for and evaluation of legal and interprofessional education.
This article describes the benefits of including institutional leadership (the deans) in a faculty fellowship program where faculty were tasked with implementing a curricular innovation at their home institution. These benefits included: (1) serving as an ally, advocate, and defender for the faculty fellow; (2) seeing the bigger picture and how the fellowship can be leveraged to benefit the institution in other ways; and (3) assisting to ensure the fellowship project will be ongoing at their institution.
The RWJF public health law faculty fellowship provided an opportunity for legal and public health scholars to come together to develop innovative approaches for teaching public health law in schools of law, public health, medicine, and social work nationally. The fellowship program emphasized the importance of integrating individual change (personal and professional development) with organizational change as twin pillars of the core competencies necessary for advancing public health law education. This article describes the curriculum and learning formats used throughout the fellowship to guide the fellows' development in the areas of leading change, managing conflict, building collaborative partnerships, and maintaining personal resilience.
Georgia State University College of Law, through the Center for Law, Health & Society, developed a pair of online libraries for faculty teaching public health law in schools of law or public health. Development of these libraries was funded by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as part of The Future of Public Health Law Education: Faculty Fellowship Program. This article describes the goals of the program addressed by the libraries, the development process, the resources included, and how faculty may benefit from the materials and provide materials benefitting other faculty across the country.
This concluding essay offers reflections on core components of the faculty fellowship program, its outcomes and results, and program design and administration. Amid the current calls for reform in legal and other professional education, the lessons we learned and perspectives we gained during this fellowship program may be relevant to any faculty members and university administrations that are seeking to create more effective and engaged professional and graduate school programs, whatever may be their subject-matter discipline.