We engage students in topical health, public health, and policy advocacy issues.
Health Law & Policy Clinic and Courses
The Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation is a clinical teaching program of Harvard Law School. Our expert faculty and clinical team lead and teach several Harvard Law School seminars and an associated clinic, providing students with comprehensive learning opportunities in health law, public health, and related policy advocacy.
Health Law and Policy Clinic
Semesters Offered: Spring and Fall
Clinical Credits: 3, 4, or 5
Students enrolled in the Health Law and Policy Clinic will work on cutting-edge legislative, regulatory, and litigation projects at the state and national levels aimed at increasing access to quality, comprehensive health care for low-income individuals and families. Student projects involve: informing current debate on health reform efforts; providing law and policy analysis to national and state coalitions advocating to protect Medicaid, Medicare, and discretionary health and public health programs; investigating best practices for initiatives to address health disparities and reduce barriers to health care for our most vulnerable populations; and litigating to address unfair and discriminatory public and private health insurance practices.
Over the course of a semester, 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, draft legislation, regulatory guidance, and litigation-oriented document production. Students have the opportunity to develop a range of problem-solving, policy analysis, research and writing, oral communication, advocacy, and leadership skills.
Public Health Law and Policy Seminar
Taught by Assistant Clinical Professor of Law Carmel Shachar
Semesters Offered: Fall and Spring
Course Credits: 2
Public Health Law and Policy is an overview of the historical factors and the major law and policy decisions that have shaped health and public health care in the United States. We will look at the structure and functioning of both public and private systems with a focus on how they work (or do not work) for populations facing discrimination and marginalization, including people of color, people living with low incomes, people living with HIV, hepatitis, mental illness, or other chronic health conditions, and people of transgender or gender non-conforming experience). We will explore prominent current debates in health care and in public health with an eye on implications for public policy. And we will analyze federal and state law and policy proposals that aim to tackle some of the sector’s most entrenched problems, scale and sustain innovations, and otherwise improve the health and wellbeing of people across the country.
The seminar incorporates and encourages active discourse, dialogue, and debate from all perspectives about U.S. health and public health law and policy choices. At the end of the term, students will have the opportunity to write about and present to the class their own innovative solution to address an access to care or public health challenge.
Health Care Rights in the Twenty-First Century Seminar
Taught by Lecturer on Law Kevin Costello
Semester Offered: Fall
Course Credits: 2
As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more self-evident than ever that American health care is broken. Questions laid bare during this period of collective and individual adversity reveal the central importance of rights within our health care system, especially around issues of resource allocation, access to care, and equity. Underlying our response to this new landscape is the fundamental question whether Americans enjoy a basic entitlement to health care. This course will briefly trace the history of the American conception of health care rights through the last half-century of administrative and political cycles. We will contrast a diverse array of ideological perspectives over this progression to understand the context of the current climate.
Policy Advocacy Workshop
Taught by Professor Emily Broad Leib and Professor Sharon Block
Semester Offered: Spring
Course Credits: 2
The Policy Advocacy Workshop is a hands-on seminar that will explore the methods, tools, and skills used to conduct legislative and regulatory advocacy. Many law students are interested in using their legal education as a pathway to engage in policymaking. This course provides students with a range of active opportunities to learn about, discuss, and practice written and oral policy advocacy via simulations and assignments.
Harvard Law School is committed to the full inclusion of students with disabilities in the life of the University. Students requesting accessibility resources or accommodations in any of HLS’s Clinical and Pro Bono Programs may work with Accessibility Services in the Dean of Students Office. If you are a student with a documented disability and you are requesting accommodations, please contact HLS Accessibility Services to discuss and register for accommodations.