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About this web site

This site is no longer being updated; access to material contained here is for archival purposes only. Please see the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Law for current information on health concerns facing the world.

To provide readers with the most comprehensive and timely information possible, I have launched a companion web site to complement the Reader. This site is made possible with the generous support of the Milbank Memorial Fund. The Reader web site is designed to greatly enhance your reading experience and to provide an important resource for public health law students, scholars, practitioners, and educators. Throughout the text, readers are referred to materials posted on this site. The contents of the site are keyed to the chapters of the Reader, and include:

  • Full-text versions of selected court cases excerpted in the Reader
  • Selected articles and reports discussed or cited in the Reader
  • Recent public health law cases, statutes, regulations, and news updates
  • Links to other sites and electronic resources of interest.


Teaching and learning with the Reader

Public Health Law and Ethics: A Reader provides a discussion and analysis of critical problems at the interface of law, ethics, and public health. It is intended as a stand-alone text and offers a detailed commentary that defines a public health problem in each chapter, frames, the relevant questions, and introduces the selected readings. The commentary also provides additional resources, many of which are included on this web site, for readers interested in further pursuing the subject matter in the chapter.

The Reader can also be used as a companion to the book Public Health Law: Power, Duty, and Restraint. This book offers a theory and definition of public health law, an explanation of its principal analytical methodologies, and an analysis of the major conflicts in public health theory and practice. The books are designed to be used together: The treatise provides a careful description an analysis of public health law, while the Reader offers cases and materials that provoke debate and informed discussion. The two books (used separately or as companions) provide resources for research, teaching academic courses and seminars, professional practice, and thinking about fascinating problems in public health theory and daily practice.

Faculty in schools of law, public health, medicine, nursing, and public administration have adopted Public Health Law: Power, Duty, Restraint for courses and seminars on public health law and/or ethics. Some instructors will prefer to use the Reader alone in their classes. Still others will used both books, as I do at Georgetown. Regardless of how they are used, this web site and its resources will enhance both teaching and learning.

If faculty members choose both books, the main text offers an accessible description and analysis of the field, while the Reader provides supplemental cases and articles. The table below provides a basis for building a course syllabus. One column contains the chapter headings for Public Health Law: Power, Duty, Restraint, and the other column contains the corresponding chapters in the Reader and this web site.

I would be greatly interested in hearing how you use these two books and this web site in your own teaching. Please feel free to contact me at reader@publichealthlaw.net.

Lawrence O. Gostin
August 2002

Model syllabi using the Reader and Public Health Law: Power, Duty, Restraint





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