Health law is a complex and rapidly changing field, including laws impacting the health care industry, public health, bioethics, global health, health technology and social justice. Established in 2004, the Center for Law, Health & Society is dedicated to addressing today’s health law challenges through high quality educational programs, research and community engagement.
Through our Juris Doctor (J.D.) Health Law Certificate, dual degrees and Master of Laws (LL.M.) with a Concentration in Health Law, students engage with law, public policy and ethics as applied to real-world health law problems.
The center is a catalyst for understanding and improving laws and policies influencing the health and well-being of individuals, families and communities.
- Community Engagement
The center engages in community service and promotes robust debate and thoughtful reflection on critical issues at the intersection of law, policy, health and society.
To illustrate the broad field known as ‘health law,’ we divide it into six core areas of focus. These interdisciplinary, interconnected areas of focus are represented in our educational programming, research initiatives and community engagement.
Health Care Regulation & Financing
Health Sciences & Technology
Social Justice & Human Rights
Our students can choose from more than 20 courses and externships we offer in health and business regulation, public and environmental health, health equity and social justice, bioethics and legal medicine, and health sciences and technology.
Law, medical and graduate students from Georgia State University, Morehouse and Emory University regularly work together and learn about health law while assisting low-income patients at our award-winning Health Law Partnership (HeLP) Legal Services Clinic.
The health law field encompasses many diverse areas to address the complex challenges to ensuring health and well-being in our society. Health lawyers need to have a solid and well-rounded background across legal disciplines. They also practice in a wide variety of health law settings, including:
- Corporate counsel who advise for-profit and not-for-profit health care businesses
- Corporate lawyers who counsel employers on health-related matters, including employee benefits and health plans
- Attorneys in private practice who advise on the rights of patients and health care providers, including doctors and institutional providers
- Attorneys in private practice who advise individuals and families on disability, workers compensation, special education, the welfare of children and the elderly, and other health-related issues
- Legal aid and civil rights lawyers who address the rights of economically disadvantaged and otherwise under-served members of the community and who promote their health and access to health care
- Trial attorneys involved in litigation related to insurance companies, health care enterprises, medical products manufacturers, or individuals’ health or health care outcomes
- Government attorneys representing administrative agencies or charged with implementing major health legislation at the federal, state or local levels
- Government attorneys who prosecute criminal fraud and abuse of other health-related white-collar crimes
- Intellectual property lawyers involved with the development of new health care technologies
- Legal advocates in nonprofit organizations who represent the health interests of particular segments of the population
- Mediators who facilitate the resolution of health-related disputes
- Lawyers who engage in research, policy analysis, and policy implementation
In addition, many lawyers’ pro bono activities are aimed at improving their community’s health.
The health law program strives to offer best practices in health law education and to be a national leader in designing a model health law curriculum responsive to today’s challenges. The health law curriculum is not static; it responds to meet the realities of legal practice and the needs of future legal professionals.
Preparation for practice
The health law program is designed to support law students’ readiness for employment and to prepare them to engage as legal professionals in a variety of legal practice settings, including transactional litigation, regulatory, and public policy settings. The program strives to equip students with the relevant knowledge, skills, and values that will allow them to solve real-world problems, communicate well, and serve in leadership capacities.
The health law program offers an integrated learning experience that reflects and reinforces foundational knowledge, skills, and values across the program and that leverages the strength of offerings in the JD program generally. The curriculum is designed to provide familiarity with the basic health-related legal concepts, system structures, and organizations, and to provide a basic orientation to the field so students are able to navigate new problems and challenges.
Transferability and adaptability
Using the health field as a lens and context for studying law, the health law curriculum offers a foundation in knowledge, skills, and values that are readily transferable to other legal fields.
The breadth and depth of the health law curriculum is designed to meet the needs of diverse students. It is intended to be accessible to students wishing for an introduction to the field as well as those wishing to specialize in it, and it should meet the needs of part-time and full-time students. The six curricular focus areas in health law allow interested students to drill down in different specialized areas of faculty expertise.
Curricular guidance and faculty advisement
The health law program is structured to offer a clear curricular organization and a pathway to guide students through both the general law school curriculum and the health law curriculum. It provides a coherent educational experience that promotes progressive learning that builds on prior learning. Faculty members are readily available to advise and assist students in course selection, research and scholarship, decisions about potential career paths, and taking advantage of other opportunities for professional development.
Professional values in interdisciplinary contexts
The health law program seeks to foster understanding and respect for the work of health-related professionals and to encourage thinking and action outside of traditional legal silos. It is intended to promote the ability to collaborate and work in teams with other legal and health-related professionals. The program contributes to developing professionalism, civility, and ethics in the conduct of future lawyers practicing in health law and other legal fields.
Promoting justice and the public’s interest
The health law program seeks to introduce students to the variety of ways that health lawyers and health-related professionals engage in promoting justice and the public’s interest. The health law program emphasizes the importance of such activities as a part of professional responsibility, and it facilitates and encourages students’ participation in such activities.
The Journal of Legal Medicine is an interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed,
internationally circulated journal that focuses broadly on the intersection of
health sciences and law, policy, or ethics. The Center for Law, Health & Society
was the academic partner on the Journal of Legal Medicine from 2018-2021,
Volumes 39 through 41, available here.
Center for Law, Health & Society
Georgia State University College of Law
P.O. Box 4037
Atlanta, GA 30302-4037
Center for Law, Health & Society
Georgia State University College of Law
85 Park Place NE, 4th Floor
Atlanta, GA 30303