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Courses at BSPH


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 courses names to be directed to the course catalog.

Public Health and the Law (306.650.01)

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 (306.662.01)

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.

Introduction to Environmental and Occupational Health Law (180.628.81)

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 (301.645.01)

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.

Legal and Public Health Issues in the Regulation of Intimacy (306.660.01)

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.

Bioethics and the Law (700.625.01)

Examines central legal cases that address issues in bioethics. Topics covered include reproductive rights, end of life decision-making, informed consent, ownership of human cells, and others. Explores challenges that emerging biotechnologies (e.g., neuroimaging) pose for existing legal doctrine. Discusses evolving regulatory frameworks for oversight of human subjects research. Considers the relationship between legal reasoning and ethical reasoning, with some of the legal literature supplemented by readings from the bioethics literature.

Legal and Ethical Issues in Health Services Management (306.663.01)

Provides students with an overview of the legal environment as it affects medicine and business. Utilizes cutting-edge cases as students explore medical mal-practice, negligence, liability (physician, product, and corporate), the changing physician-patient relationship, the care of vulnerable and high-risk populations, intellectual property, criminal aspects of health care, patient consent and rights, and health care reform.