Students

About the Health Law & Policy Clinic

Clinic Description: 

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The Health Law and Policy Clinic (HLPC) aims to improve the health of vulnerable populations, including low-income people living with HIV and AIDS, by expanding access to high-quality healthcare, reducing health disparities, supporting community education and advocacy capacity, and promoting legal, regulatory, and policy reforms that contribute to a more equitable individual and public health environment.

Students enrolled in HLPC participate in a broad range of national and state law and policy initiatives aimed at achieving a more equitable and just individual and public health environment. To this end, students engage in law and policy work to promote legal, regulatory, and other reforms that expand access to high-quality healthcare, reduce health disparities, and support community education and advocacy capacity.

Through the Clinic, students work to develop, inform, and implement cutting-edge health law and policy at the state and national levels through regulatory and legislative advocacy and impact-oriented litigation. Student projects involve:

  • Promoting sound implementation of the Affordable Care Act and other health reforms that support access to high-quality and affordable health care at the state and federal levels in collaboration with state and national community-based partners;
  • Providing cutting-edge law and policy research, analysis and technical assistance to state and national health advocacy leaders, health and social service providers and government to protect and promote health and public health program best practices; and
  • Developing and implementing a national litigation strategy to address unfair and discriminatory insurance practices with a focus on addressing health disparities and reducing barriers to health care for our most vulnerable populations.

Students work closely with clinical faculty to become skilled, innovative, and thoughtful practitioners, gaining a wealth of hands-on experience in health and public health law and policy development. This Clinic experience helps students to develop a range of lawyering skills, including problem-solving, policy analysis, research and writing, oral communication, case and litigation strategy development, legislation and regulation drafting, and group facilitation.

Semesters offered: Fall, Winter, Spring

Credits: The Clinic accepts students registered for 2, 3, or 4 credits for the semester.

Add/Drop Deadlines: FALL 2016: Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Placement Site: Students in the fall and spring clinics work from the Center for Health Law & Policy Innovation suite in WCC 3130.  Students in the winter clinic work from the Center for Health Law & Policy Innovation office in Jamaica Plain (at the Legal Services Center building, located next to the Stony Brook T station on the Orange Line).

Required Class Component: Students enrolled in the Clinic must also enroll in the Public Health Law and Policy Seminar.  Students enrolled in the winter clinic must take the fall course.

 

About the Public Health Law & Policy Seminar

Seminar Description:

This seminar provides an overview of the historical law and policy decisions that have shaped the U.S. health care system and inform current debates about health reform. Incorporating varying perspectives, the seminar discusses federal and state policy options to address the current public health and access to care crises that are a direct outgrowth of 50 million Americans living without health insurance.

This seminar begins with an analysis of health systems in other countries. Next, we discuss the key policy decisions made over the past century that have shaped the current patchwork of public and private insurance coverage options in this country. After providing this international and historical context, we analyze in detail the key elements of the current U.S. health and public health care systems through the lens of its impact on vulnerable populations. We look at the components of the federal approach to reform, and also consider several state initiatives that highlight how states are acting as laboratories of innovation to implement sweeping health reforms. Finally, we discuss the forces at play that favor the health policy status quo in this country and discuss the many opportunities for health policy solutions focusing on increasing access to care and addressing public health concerns.

This seminar is open to students interested in health and public health law and policy; no background or prerequisites are required. The reading materials include various book chapters, cases, news reports, and scholarly articles that present diverse viewpoints on the topics presented. The course is intended to spark debate between different sides of these often controversial issues, and students participate in different in-class role plays and debates.

Semesters offered: Fall and Spring

Enrollment limits: Enrollment in the seminar is limited to 20 students, and is open to Harvard Law School LLM students and students from other schools of Harvard by permission. Some seats are reserved for students enrolled in the Health Law and Policy Clinic. Students must be enrolled in the clinic before they can claim one of these reserved seats. A student’s enrollment in a reserved clinical seat is dependent on the student’s enrollment in the Health Law and Policy Clinic.