Public Health Law, Summer 2021

PROBLEMS IN PUBLIC HEALTH LAW: SUMMER 2021

Wednesdays, 6:00 – 9:00 PM
Fully online via Zoom
Permanent syllabus link: https://bit.ly/PublicHealthLaw
Permanent class link: https://northeastern.zoom.us/my/publichealthlaw

Michael S. Sinha, MD, JD, MPH
Adjunct Faculty, Northeastern University School of Law
Visiting Scholar, NUSL Center for Health Policy and Law
E-mail: m.sinha@northeastern.edu
Office Hours: By appointment

Course Description

This course surveys public health law in the United States and considers the role that law can and should play in preserving population health.  We will also consider the conflicts and problems that emerge when law is used for that endeavor, as well as the legal rights and principles that limit government’s public health powers.

Required Text

  • Public Health Law, 3rd Edition. Mariner, Annas, Huberfeld, Ulrich (Carolina Academic Press, 2019).

Student Responsibilities

Readings: All assigned readings should be completed before class. Copies of the Mariner casebook are available for purchase in the NUSL Bookstore and should also be on reserve at the law library. Other readings will be posted on this page.

Attendance and Engagement: This component of the evaluation is based on: class attendance and punctuality, participation and demonstrated engagement with the subject matter as evidenced by participation during class, during office hours, and at least twice weekly engagement on Twitter (using the hashtag #PHLaw [optional but encouraged]). (25% of grade)

Midterm Assignment: A structured “public comment” brief (6-8 pages), written instructions HERE(25% of grade)

  • The CDC Docket is HERE and Federal Register notice is HERE.
  • The first draft will be submitted for my feedback by Wednesday, June 16, 2021.
  • The Public Comment will be submitted to the Docket (with email confirmation sent to me) by midnight on Wednesday, June 30, 2021.

Final Paper: The final paper on a pre-approved topic should be 16-18 pages in length and contain appropriately formatted BlueBook references, written instructions HERE. (50% of grade)

  • Your topic should be cleared by Dr. Sinha no later than May 26, 2021.
  • A proposal outlining the topic significance, key questions, expected outcomes and preliminary sources will be due before class on Wednesday, June 9, 2021. A sample proposal is HERE.
  • The final paper will be due on Tuesday, August 24, 2021.

Academic Integrity: Northeastern University is committed to the principles of intellectual honesty and integrity. All members of the Northeastern community are expected to maintain complete honesty in all academic work, presenting only that which is their own work in tests and assignments. If you have any questions regarding proper attribution of the work of others, contact me prior to submitting work for evaluation.

Learning Objectives:

As required by the American Bar Association, the Faculty of the School of Law have identified a set of learning outcomes and competencies that students are expected to develop over the course of their three years in the JD program. The complete list can be found at http://www.northeastern.edu/law/about/history.html. Students in this course should achieve, and will be assessed in, the following learning outcomes and competencies, among others:

Learning Outcome I: Know and Understand the Law: What Lawyers Comprehend
-- Describe substantive law relevant to public health.

Learning Outcome III: Apply the Means and Modes of Effective Communication: How Lawyers Communicate
-- Communicate orally, including (a) participating in class discussion; … (c) presenting academic or policy-based research and (d) explaining legal concepts and practical applications to clients and others.
-- Use non-textual forms of communication (e.g. slides).

Learning Outcome IV: Understand Law in its Social Context: How Lawyers Situate Their Work
-- Describe or otherwise demonstrate understanding of the ways in which the law can work as an instrument of social change as well as the ways in which law can impede social change
-- Describe or otherwise demonstrate understanding of the ways that law both reflects and influences culture
-- Develop strategies to promote particular policy perspectives and concerns into law, both through legislation and litigation.

Learning Outcome VIII: Incorporate Interdisciplinary and International Thinking into Legal Analysis: How Lawyers Utilize Other Disciplines and Global Perspectives
-- Integrate knowledge from other academic discipline
-- Explain a particular non-legal/substantive policy issue.

Learning During a Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on all of us. This is an extremely stressful time to be a law student and is certainly not what you envisioned when you enrolled at Northeastern. That said, I’m fully committed to making sure that you learn everything you were hoping to learn from this class! I will make whatever accommodations I can to help you finish your assignments and understand the class material. Under ordinary conditions, I am flexible and lenient with grading and course expectations when students face difficult challenges. Under pandemic conditions, that flexibility and leniency is intensified. If you tell me you’re having trouble, I will not judge you or think less of you. I hope you’ll extend me the same grace. You never owe me personal information about your health (mental or physical). That said, you are always welcome to talk to me about things that you’re going through. If I can’t help you, I will find somebody who can. I want you to learn a lot from this class, but I primarily want you to stay healthy, balanced, and grounded during this crisis.

Zoom Etiquette:

The following apply to class sessions on Zoom:

  • The permanent Zoom link for class is https://northeastern.zoom.us/my/publichealthlaw
  • If you are having technical issues, please use the Zoom application on your smartphone or dial in to class.
    • Dial-in information (1-312-626-6799, Meeting ID: 340 372 2397)
      (if you call in, you will need to unmute and identify yourself to be marked as present)
  • Please make sure your name appears in Zoom as you’d like to be called.
  • Attendance is required for all sessions. Unless it is an emergency, a request for an excused absence must come 48 hours before class starts.
  • Class sessions will not be recorded. Slides will be posted after class.
  • Alparticipants will be muted during class. You may unmute yourself in order to speak or ask questions. Please use the raise hand feature when asking questions.
  • You will NOT be required to have your video on for the entirety of the class. However, I will assume you are paying attention even if your video is off and may ask a question.
  • The chat function will not be used during class. I am happy to stay on after class ends to address questions related to the course.

CLASS SCHEDULE

The following schedule is preliminary and subject to changes that may be announced in class and/or on the syllabus page.  Each topic roughly correlates to one class period. If we do not cover all the reading for one topic in one class, be prepared to discuss the remainder of that topic in the next class, in addition to the readings for the next topic.

May 12:

FOUNDATIONS OF PUBLIC HEALTH LAW

REGULATION OF PUBLIC HEALTH, PART 1

May 19:

REGULATION OF PUBLIC HEALTH, PART 2

THE SCOPE OF THE POLICE POWER

May 26: 

CIVIL LIBERTIES AND INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS

Paper Topic Approval Deadline

Discussion Prompt

June 2:

HEALTH DISPARITIES, SOCIAL/STRUCTURAL DETERMINANTS OF HEALTH

Breakout Session 1 (15 minutes)

  • Group 1: Barlam, Baskfield, Blickley
  • Group 2: Cardwell, Gannon, L'Esperance
  • Group 3: Larkin, Leggat, Levine
  • Group 4: Ajaz, Minke, Perrotti
  • Group 5: Portnoy, Robinowitz, Sridhar
  • Group 6: Stevens, Vemireddy, Winett

Breakout Session 2 (15 minutes)

June 9:

CIVIL COMMITMENT, ISOLATION, AND QUARANTINE

Breakout Discussion: Section 35

 

Final Paper Proposal/Outline Due (by email before class)

June 16:

SUBSTANCE USE DISORDERS

Breakout Sessions:

  • Group 1: DeAngelis, Gannon, Ajaz, Sridhar
  • Group 2: Barlam, L'Esperance, Minke, Stevens
  • Group 3: Baskfield, Larkin, Perrotti, Vemireddy
  • Group 4: Miller, Blickley, Leggat, Portnoy
  • Group 5: Cardwell, Levine, Robinowitz, Winett

via Nayab: Rat Park

Draft of Public Comment Due (by email) June 18th at 6pm

June 23:

TESTING, SCREENING, AND SEARCHING FOR HEALTH RISKS

  • Mariner, pgs. 45-51, 636-683 (focus on cases, skim Notes and Questions)

Workplace Wellness Programs: (same groups as last week)

PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY

June 30:

REPRODUCTIVE AUTONOMY, ABORTION, LGBTQ+ RIGHTS

Part 1: Reproductive Autonomy

Group 1: Ajaz, Cardwell, Larkin, Minke
Group 2: Sridhar, Stevens, Perrotti, Leggat
Group 3: DeAngelis, Barlam, Baskfield, Gannon
Group 4: Levine, Portnoy, Vemireddy, Winett
Group 5: Robinowitz, Miller, L'Esperance, Blickley

Part 2: Abortion

Part 3: LGBTQ+ Rights

Group 1
Group 2
Group 3
Group 4
Group 5

Public Comment Due at MIDNIGHT to Regulations.gov
(forward your final draft and email confirmation of submission with tracking code to Dr. Sinha)

July 7:

FIRST AMENDMENT ISSUES

Abortion:

Tobacco:

Compelled Commercial Disclosures Activity:
Group 1: Minke, Leggat, Gannon, Blickley
Group 2: Sridhar, Perrotti, Levine, L'Esperance
Group 3: Stevens, Portnoy, Miller, Winett
Group 4: Larkin, DeAngelis, Baskfield, Ajaz
Group 5: Vemireddy, Robinowitz, Barlam, Cardwell

 

PUBLIC HEALTH AND RELIGION

Religion and Contraception:

Conscience Clauses:

Religion and COVID-19:

July 14: 

FIREARMS AND THE SECOND AMENDMENT

Guest Speaker: Elisabeth J. Ryan, JD, MPH (teaches "Firearms Law and the Second Amendment" at the Harvard Extension School)

Congressional Policy Proposals:

  • Group 1: Minke, Sridhar, Stevens, Larkin 
  • Group 2: Vemireddy, Leggat, Perrotti, Portnoy
  • Group 3: DeAngelis, Robinowitz, Levine
  • Group 4: Miller, Baskfield, Barlam, Blickley
  • Group 5: L'Esperance, Winett, Ajaz, Cardwell

July 21:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOBACCO, ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES, AND VAPING

Guest Speaker: Daniel G. Aaron, MD, JD (FDA Office of the Chief Counsel)

Tobacco:

E-cigarettes:

 

Breakout Sessions:

  • Group 1: DeAngelis, Gannon, Ajaz, Sridhar
  • Group 2: Barlam, L'Esperance, Minke, Stevens
  • Group 3: Baskfield, Larkin, Perrotti, Vemireddy
  • Group 4: Miller, Blickley, Leggat, Portnoy
  • Group 5: Cardwell, Levine, Robinowitz, Winett

July 28:

 

 

 

 

 

 

EMERGING INFECTIOUS DISEASES AND PUBLIC HEALTH PREPAREDNESS

 

Public Health Emergency Exercise:

  • Group 1: DeAngelis, Barlam, Baskfield, Miller, Cardwell
  • Group 2: Gannon, L'Esperance, Larkin, Blickley, Levine
  • Group 3: Ajaz, Minke, Perrotti, Leggat, Robinowitz
  • Group 4: Sridhar, Stevens, Vemireddy, Portnoy, Winett

 

INFLUENZA, VACCINE-PREVENTABLE ILLNESS

August 4:

 

 

 

 

HIV/AIDS

EBOLA IN WEST AFRICA AND THE US

August 11:

 

THE FUTURE OF PUBLIC HEALTH LAW

  • In-class presentations of research papers

August 24:

FINAL PAPER DUE by e-mail to m.sinha@northeastern.edu