Health, Law, and Justice

Health, Law, and Justice JBS

With Sarah Curi and Alice Noble | 10 Weeks, 12 Credits | June 6-August 12, 2016

Together we will explore legal and ethical issues in American health care. Through the lens of social justice, we will investigate (1) the American health care system and the goals and impacts of the Affordable Care Act; and (2) key bioethical debates, particularly those surrounding patient/doctor relationships, treatment choices, reproductive rights, and end-of-life care.

We will explore the role of health in justice and individual dignity. Also, with the backdrop of the presidential campaign, we will consider – What comes next for American health care?

By engaging directly with key stakeholders  from policy makers and health care providers to legislators, advocates, and business leaders  we will put policy into practice through projects and field visits.

You will gain the experience, confidence, and connections to promote further reform and become future leaders in health care policy and practice.

Students interested in a variety of fields, such as law, HSSP, social science, economics, politics, business, and philosophy, will find something of interest in this JBS. You will gain the experience, confidence, and connections to promote further reform and become future leaders in health care policy and practice!

Ideal for

Designed for students with career interests in public policy, medicine and health care, law, ethics, politics, business, philosophy, economics, and social research, and for any student curious to understand how the American health care system works in practice.

Students in this JBS will earn 12 credits toward graduation. Additionally, for most students, one JBS can count as a semester of residency toward graduation (all students - but particularly transfer students - should click here for terms and conditions surrounding residency requirements).

LGLS 114aj -American Health Care: Reform (4 credits)
Requirements Fulfilled: SS

Description:  Six years after the historic passage of the ACA, the United States and our health care system are at a crossroads. While the ACA seems to have weathered most of the significant implementation challenges, even its most ardent supporters acknowledge that the law provides only a partial fix for our nation's health care system. While access should improve appreciably, particularly for those who are currently uninsured, many will still remain without access to needed care. Moreover, among advanced nations our costs are the highest by far and the quality of our care is no better than that found in these less costly nations. We will explore the ACA, the events leading up to its passage, the policies the law was designed to further, and its impacts so far.

LGLS 131bj - Patient Autonomy: Law, Medicine, and Ethics (4 credits)
Requirements Fulfilled: SS

Description:  At the heart of our evolving health care system are the doctor and the patient. Related to the doctor-patient relationship are often complex issues related to patient autonomy, life and death treatment decisions, and the cost of and access to care. They implicate questions of justice and the just distribution of care, a key goal of health care reform. We will explore ethical, legal, and social issues (including end-of-life decision making, physician-assisted suicide, procreative liberty, cloning, and genetic therapies) from the micro level of patient care at the patient's bedside to the macro issues of the health care system in which patient care is delivered and financed.

LGLS 98bj - Independent Research (4 credits)
Description:  Students will explore an array of complex issues in depth during the seminars as well as in the "real world," as they attend public meetings or hearings and actively dialog with stakeholders. We will examine the day-to-day issues faced by stakeholders in the midst of reform efforts. While connecting theory and practice, students will take initiative and actively engage in structured assignments.


A link to an overview of the the Summer 2016 JBS syllabus appears below:

Health, Law, and Justice JBS Syllabus - Summer 2016

Please note that course syllabi are subject to change at the discretion of the instructors.


If you have questions about the program, please email Prof. Sarah Curi at: or Prof. Alice Noble at:

If you have questions about the application process or have general programs about the JBS program, email us at:

Please note: the application period for Summer 2016 has concluded and no new applications are being accepted.