About the Health Law & Policy Clinic

Clinic Description: 


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 will have the opportunity to develop cutting-edge policy recommendations at the state and national levels in the legislative, litigation, and regulatory arenas. Projects involve informing both national and state level implementation of the Affordable Care Act through regulatory comments and analysis, providing law and policy analysis to national and state coalitions advocating to protect the Medicaid program, developing a national litigation strategy for anti-discrimination and improved access efforts, and investigating best practices for initiatives to increase access to treatment and service programs serving vulnerable populations.

Students gain a wealth of hands-on experience in current and emerging health law and policy issues, and develop written products such as fact sheets, in-depth reports, comment letters, testimony, presentations, and draft legislation or regulatory guidance. Students have the opportunity to develop a range of problem-solving, policy analysis, research and writing, oral communication, and leadership skills.

Semesters offered: Fall, Winter, Spring

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

Add/Drop Deadlines: SPRING 2016: Friday, January 15, 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.