Law Schedule of Classes

NOTE: Course offerings change. Classes offered this semester may not be offered in future semesters.

Apart from their assigned mod courses, 1L students may only enroll in courses offered as 1L electives. A complete list of these courses can be found on the 1L Elective Listings page. 1L students must use the 1L class number listed on the course description when enrolling.

224.23 sec. 001 - Public Health Law (Spring 2023)

Instructor: Marice Ashe  (view instructor's teaching evaluations - degree students only)
View all teaching evaluations for this course - degree students only

Units: 3
Grading Designation: Graded
Mode of Instruction: In-Person


MW 08:35 AM - 09:50 AM
Location: Law 111
From January 09, 2023
To April 25, 2023

Course Start: January 09, 2023
Course End: April 25, 2023
Class Number: 32437

Enrollment info:
Enrolled: 12
Waitlisted: 0
Enroll Limit: 20
As of: 08/24 11:03 PM

COVID-19 provided real-time insight to how structural inequities such as racism, sexism and ableism impact our nation’s health. It uncovered how global economics and transportation systems, workplace policies and employee benefits, food systems and retail environments, schools, playgrounds and every aspect of civic life influence health outcomes. It demonstrated how closely aligned health outcomes are with deeply imbedded legal structures that drive health inequities.

Yet, COVID-19 is not unique in its disproportionate impact on low-income and communities of color. Diabetes, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, gun violence, opioid deaths – in fact every preventable illness and injury – all follow the exact pattern of disproportional harm as they are inextricably linked to poverty, historic trauma, under-funded systems, segregated housing, limited voting rights, and more.

Public Health Law 224.23 digs into these issues with an array of traditional and nontraditional educational resources, and with student-led research and writing projects that focus on the ties between institutionalized/ systemic harms and population health outcomes. Students will explore the basics of the US public health system, learn how to integrate core legal theory with fundamental public health principles, and identify laws and policies that further the public’s health by redressing inequalities and promoting health equity. Students do not need a background in health law, but should bring a passion and commitment to redressing structural discrimination that limits equity and opportunity.

The course is open to both law and, by application, to public health students. Public health students interested in taking the course must submit an interdepartmental application with the Law Registrar's Office.

The course is designed to expose students to core skills regardless of their future career venue. It has three major sections:

1. Introduction to public health and public health law focusing on the “social and political determinants of health,” racism as a public health crisis, public health data, and models of public health practice that improve population health and promote health equity.

2. Constitutional basis of public health focusing on the constitutional and statutory authority of the government to protect and promote health. It covers a survey of constitutional law including classic cases (e.g., Brown v. Board of Education and Griswold v. Connecticut) to the most recent Supreme Court decisions (e.g., Alabama Association of Realtors v Dept. of Health and Human Services and Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Clinic).

3. Public health law in action integrates the learning through a more in-depth focus on vaccination law, environmental justice, community organizing and mobilization, and systems thinking.

The course stimulates responses to real world problems, and encourages proactive legal and policy leadership to prevent and manage both emergent infectious diseases and ubiquitous yet preventable chronic diseases. Class time includes lectures, student-led discussions and frequent small group exercises. We will learn how lawyers, and health and community-based leaders partner to ensure everyone has the ability to live a healthy and prosperous life.

The instructor is Marice Ashe, JD, MPH. She is the founder of the national nonprofit, ChangeLab Solutions, where she served as CEO for nearly 25 years and pioneered the use of law and policy to solve complex problems related to institutionalized inequities and poor community health outcomes. Leading a staff of 60 lawyers and other public health experts, Ashe drove major health equity successes across a broad range of public health challenges. Under her direction, ChangeLab Solutions consulted with leadership from every level of government, health system and community health practice, and created a vast library of “how to” gu ide s and model laws and policies that promote multi-disciplinary partnerships to empower leaders, mobilize resources and improve outcomes.

Ashe is currently a public health law and policy consultant who works with public health leaders th roughout the world. She serves on the national advisory boards for the Center for the Redress of Inequity Through Community-Engaged Scholarship at the University of Virginia and the Institute for Health Policy and Leadership at Loma Linda University. She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and has graduate degrees in both public health and law from the University of California at Berkeley.

Requirements Satisfaction:

This is an Option 1 class; two Option 1 classes fulfill the J.D. writing requirement.

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Exam Notes: (P) Final paper  
Course Category: Social Justice and Public Interest
This course is listed in the following sub-categories:
Public Law and Policy
Race and Law

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