Health Law, Bioethics & Human Rights

Health law, bioethics, and human rights are complementary disciplines for defining and analyzing how the public’s health can and should be protected most effectively. Principles of justice, bioethics, and human rights are embodied in public health, which evolves to meet new challenges, like firearm safety, cyber-terrorism, chronic disease, and the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Students in the Health Law, Bioethics & Human Rights concentration explore this dynamic interaction in a wide range of public health programs, such as genetic research and testing, advertising and regulating dangerous products, screening for chronic diseases, emergency medical care, patient safety, responding to mental illness and illicit drug use, public health preparedness, and the ethical conduct of biomedical research.

All students gain essential knowledge and skills to assess the power and limits of federal, state, and local governments and private entities to take public health actions. Students who have a particular interest in bioethics can take courses that focus on ethical principles and decisions in developing public health programs. Those who have a particular interest in human rights and global health can take courses that focus on human rights theory and practice designed to make public health interventions more responsive to the people that they serve.

The department’s research and service activities in law, bioethics, and human rights are designed to enrich the educational experience of our students, and we welcome their participation in our work.

Academic Programs

The Department of Health Law, Bioethics & Human Rights offers the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree with optional emphasis areas in bioethics and human rights.