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The schools health law program does not come with its own certificate of completion. Health law can be the legal doctrines that in some way impact the core relationship of doctor and patient.
SKILL SHARPENER 1.800. 973. 1177 University of Pennsylvania’s Health Law Program Takes Advantage of Its Surroundings [by Erica Winter] Philadelphia is home to some of the nation’s premier hospitals. It seems only right, therefore, that the University of Pennsylvania Law School offers a highly extensive interdisciplinary program in health law. The school’s health law program is not Theodore Ruger last year from Washington the law school or apply while in their first based at a center, nor does it come with its University in St. Louis as another addition to year. If accepted, law students start taking own certificate of completion. Students do its health law faculty. “Health law” can be MBE courses in their second year. This year, not have to apply to get into the program “the legal doctrines that in some way impact there are nine Penn Law students who are once they have been accepted by the law the core relationship of doctor and patient,” also studying for their MBEs, says Madison. school. Instead, the health law program is a he says, or the law which addresses that concerted effort on the part of the law school relationship indirectly, through insurers, Law students studying bioethics can do clini- to acknowledge and draw on the law school’s hospitals, public health, or constitutional law cal rotations in the Hospital of the University local assets and expand those relationships. issues. of Pennsylvania (HUP) or at Philadelphia’s Children’s Hospital. Second-year Penn Law Over the past few years, the law school has The constitutional side included in “health student Holly Fernandez will take advantage been actively hiring professors who concen- law” is studied in-depth at Penn through of this resource next year when she does her trate on health law, says Kristin Madison, bioethics, which involves questions of rotation with HUP’s Bioethics Committee, Assistant Professor at Penn Law. The school healthcare privacy, the right to die, and other whose members respond to hospital physi- is “trying to take advantage of internal and constitutional issues in healthcare. Anita Al- cians’ medical ethics questions. Fernandez external resources,” Madison says. len-Castellitto, Henry R. Silverman Professor will “shadow and learn,” she says, from of Law, came to Penn four years ago and is these “philosophers with pagers.” Madison, who came to Penn four years ago, a leading national expert on privacy law and specializes in legal issues involving health- bioethics. Also at Penn is the Wharton School of Busi- care organizations. She explains that “health ness, which has a Health Care Systems De- law” means different things to different The goal for students studying health law at partment. Penn Law students can receive a people. For example, Madison teaches a Penn is to shape “lawyers who are knowl- certificate in business and public policy from class on the law of health care regulations, edgeable and sophisticated regarding legal Wharton while in law school. This program, which looks at things such as healthcare issues in healthcare,” says Allen-Castel- too, requires a separate application but can fraud under both federal and state laws. litto. Towards this end, students learn about be completed concurrently with the J.D. health law from the entire range of perspec- In addition, larger, more general areas of law tives, including constitutional, financial, The law school facilitates this interdisciplin- touch on healthcare law, Madison explains, legislative, and ethical. ary atmosphere with the practical step of let- such as liability or antitrust law and ques- ting law students take four elective courses tions of whether these areas of law change Within that framework, the diversity of the in other parts of the university. For the MBE, when applied to healthcare. Medical mal- University of Pennsylvania’s academic offer- for example, those law students take one practice liability is rather well known; less ings are used to their fullest, whether they course per semester in bioethics during their known is the question of vicarious liability, are contained within the law school or not. second and third years, and can cross-count such as whether a hospital is responsible some of their law school classes towards the for a doctor’s actions. Anti-trust issues can The Bioethics Center, which is not part of the master’s degree. be clear when dealing with corporations, but law school, is the heart of a master’s degree possibly less so when dealing with a group of in bioethics (MBE) that some law students Students themselves embody the interdisci- nonprofit hospitals. pursue simultaneously with their law de- plinary spirit of the health program at Penn grees. The MBE is a two-year program; law Law. Some students take time off from medi- Penn Law brought in Assistant Professor students can apply for it when they apply to cal school or even from programs in veteri- PAGE 1 continued on back SKILL SHARPENER 1. 800. 973.1177 nary medicine to study law and bioethics. If they do not return to medial school or be- come veterinarians, graduates who focused on health law while at Penn usually go to work in large law firms, says Madison, and some to those firms’ healthcare groups. No matter where students work after gradu- ation, they will encounter health law in their legal work, says Ruger. Healthcare issues “permeate American social and economic life,” he says. Through Penn’s program, Ruger hopes that students will be “leaders in addressing these pressing questions.” PAGE 2
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