Academics

Public Health Law & Science Center

PUBLIC HEALTH LAW & SCIENCE CENTER

UA Law's Health Law Certificate Program

Health law: An emerging field

Joseph J. Feltes

“With healthcare undergoing the biggest change in 50 years, the need for health law attorneys will be greater than ever.”

Joseph J. Feltes
Partner in Charge
Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs, LLP, Canton, Ohio


Chris Goff

"A certification in Health Law will arm graduates with the necessary credentials to succeed in a post health reform era."

Chris Goff
Chief Executive and General Counsel
Employers Health Coalition, Inc., Canton, Ohio
Alumnus, UA School of Law


The University of Akron

“Our students come to us wanting to make a difference in the world. PHLSC will educate our students—lawyers and non-lawyers—to create forward-thinking public health law and policy that is responsive to scientific innovations.

“The center will provide opportunities for students to work in interprofessional teams in classes, externships and direct community service. As always, we will prepare students both to protect the rights of people who need access to health care and also to facilitate solutions and innovations that will improve our community and the world.”

Elizabeth Reilly
Interim Dean
The University of Akron School of Law


The University of Akron

"As described by the Institute of Medicine, protecting and advancing public health requires a systems approach grounded in the collective action of government, healthcare institutions, the community, businesses, the media and academia.

"The Public Health Law & Science Center will act as a catalyst for this systems approach by bringing together these public and private actors to both create and, importantly, implement solutions to the pressing public health issues of our times."

Katharine Van Tassel
Professor of Law
Director, Public Health Law & Science Center
The University of Akron School of Law

The remarkable growth and transformation of the healthcare industry translates into a growing number of jobs for lawyers.

At the same time, meeting the challenge of educating today's practice-ready health lawyers is a new and unique enterprise. Navigating complex health law issues increasingly requires a sophisticated understanding of the confluence of science, technology and social science, something not usually taught in a more traditional, finite health law program. 

Concurrently, public and private sector employers are moving away from a focus on what new health lawyers know, and instead toward what new health lawyers can do with what they know. Reflecting this focus, many employers are requiring one to two years of experience as a hiring prerequisite.

Recognizing these new dynamics, UA's Health Law Certificate Program takes a 'boots on the ground' approach, providing skills training and externships to meet the one to two year experience prerequisite to employment. This skills training and externship experience will allow graduates to hit the ground running in their first years of practice in multiple areas, such as regulatory compliance and risk management, while encouraging continuous reflection on the relationship between law, science and technology.

The Health Law Certificate for JD students

A core set of four courses, in addition to completing a health law externship, that make-up the Health Law Certificate:

  • Health Law - Quality, Cost and Access
  • Government Regulation of Healthcare
  • Bioethics
  • Government Provision of Healthcare

More about the core courses.

Additional elective courses (for all degrees) offered by the Akron Law School include:

  • Administrative Law
  • Elder Law
  • Food and Drug Law
  • Intellectual Property (any course)
  • Biotech Patent Law
  • Public Health Law
  • Special Education Law
  • Expert Evidence,
  • Law & Psychiatry
  • Insurance Law

The future of the Health Law program

The Health Law Program not only establishes a Health Law Certificate for JD students, it will ultimately evolve to include an LLM in Health Law, a MSL in Health Law for non-JD students, joint JD/MD, JD/MPH and MSL/MPH Degree Programs and the Certificates in Healthcare Regulatory Compliance and Risk Management. These last certificates will be offered in the law school and, eventually, on-line and will be targeted to JD and non-JD students nationwide. 

'Wrap-around learning'

The Health Law Program has adopted a  “wrap-around-learning”  model unique among health law programs. 

The classes that that make up the Health Law Program curriculum will assign readings to the students before each class. The students will then be asked to take an on-line quiz based on the readings before they come to class to be sure they are prepared for class discussions. 

Class time will be focused more on actively applying  the law to problems based on learning theory which finds that students learn more when they participate in an  “active learning” situation. Finally, after each module (HIPPA, HCQIA, Stark as examples of separate modules), the students will be tested again. Students must earn an 80 percent score on the test that will be given on each module in order to be certified as understanding the overall material contained in the module.

This strategy provides students with immediate and regular performance feed-back on their levels of mastery of the materials. Sub-certification on each module will be required to earn the actual, overall Health Law Certificate. 

This model will replace the old model of waiting until the end of a semester-long class to test a student’s understanding based on one short exam. 


For more information about the PHLSC contact:

Katharine Van Tassel
Professor of Law
The University of Akron School of Law
Research Fellow, Center for Emergency Management and Homeland Security
Adjunct Professor of Law, Graduate Studies, Northeast Ohio Medical School

330-972-6403
vantassel@uakron.edu

The University of Akron

Akron, OH 44325
Phone: 330-972-7111
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