The Health Law Future
Professor Alan Meisel is a big part of why Pitt Law remains the epicenter of health law. Read more about the opportunities of Pitt Law's dynamic and highly ranked health law certificate program here.
Of the many academic strengths at Pitt Law, one notable pillar is the health law certificate program, which is ranked 13th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. This dynamic program has a strong focus on interdisciplinary approaches, experiential learning, and keeping pace with a constantly changing regulatory environment.
When Pitt Law Professor Alan Meisel founded Pitt’s Center for Bioethics and Law in 1988, the healthcare landscape was much different. “It wasn’t that long ago that what passed as health law was medical malpractice,” Meisel recently said to Pitt Law Magazine. “We’ve progressed through laws regulating the health care industry to the Medicare and Medicaid spending boom, and now the Affordable Care Act.”
The University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Bioethics and Health Law is just one facet of the university that adds depth to the Pitt Law curriculum. It’s an example of the kind of collaboration that occurs between law professors, the university’s prestigious School of Medicine and the Graduate School of Public Health, collaborations that have kept Pitt Law at the forefront and epicenter of health law.
Pitt Law is arguably the birthplace of health law. It’s a history that began when Pitt Professor Emeritus of Health Law Nathan Hershey joined the university in 1956 and played an integral role in the Graduate School of Public Health’s groundbreaking Health Law Center project. This project wrote the first compendium of all state laws dealing with hospitals. Under the leadership of John Horty, the center’s inaugural director, the scope of the project expanded to include computerization of the health law statutes of all 50 states. Horty and Hershey both served as adjunct professors at Pitt Law. Today, Horty is widely credited with creating the first full-text legal information retrieval system.
Pitt Law upholds this important legacy by offering students quality opportunities for interdisciplinary and experiential health law learning through topical symposia, challenging case law in the school’s health law and elder law clinics, as well as joint J.D. and graduate degree programs offered with Pitt’s bioethics program, the public health program, and Carnegie Mellon’s health care policy and management program. Few law schools, even those with health law emphases, offer more than six courses in health law, but Pitt Law offers 18 courses, seminars and practicums that can be applied toward its health law certificate.
It’s these offerings that have popularized the school’s health law certificate program. “One of the nicknames for the Affordable Care Act is the ‘Lawyers Full Employment Act’,” Professor Meisel recently said to US News & World Report. “There’s just so many possibilities for legal issues to arise.”
Learn more about Pitt Law’s Health Law Certificate Program here.