Fellows Attend Summer Institute on Public Health Law Education
These were some of the enthusiastic words that participants used to describe the 10-day summer institute held in July in Park City, Utah that launched a new faculty fellowship program on the future of public health law education. The conference was co-sponsored by Georgia State Law’s Center for Law, Health & Society and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
“The summer institute brought a wealth of resources and expertise together to support the fellows in designing courses and furthering their professional development,” said Charity Scott, lead faculty for the fellowship program and Catherine C. Henson Professor of Law. Participants included the fellows’ mentors, who are leading senior faculty in public health law; the fellows’ deans; leading legal education experts; and distinguished public health practitioners from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state and local health departments, and organizations such as the Network for Public Health Law, and Public Health Law Research.
Georgia State University President Mark Becker, Michael Eriksen, dean of the School of Public Health dean Michael Eriksen, and Steven Kaminshine, dean of the College of Law, opened the institute with a conversation about the future of higher education and the role that public health law can play. Kaminshine highlighted the benefits of increasing public health law courses. “Public health law is inherently interdisciplinary,” said Kaminshine. ““It offers students the opportunity to connect the dots between apparently disparate legal disciplines – constitutional and administrative law, torts, contracts, property and others.”
Each formal session over the ten days modeled different pedagogical formats that fellows might use in their own teaching, including poster sessions, simulated case study, focus groups, facilitated feedback, and Open Space sessions, where the fellows designed their own agenda. Michael Hunter Schwartz, co-author of “What the Best Law Teachers Do,” and his colleague Kelly Terry led a master teacher workshop that allowed participants to explore numerous teaching techniques. One memorable day was spent at the National Ability Center, where fellows and mentors participated in a service learning project, a ropes challenge course, and equine-facilitated learning, all of which challenged participants to go beyond their comfort zones.
“The time spent in the planned sessions was consistently engaging and enlightening,” said Scott. Topics ranged from public health ethics to careers for graduates to professional development and conflict management. “Equally valuable was the time the fellows could spend informally with their mentors and the expert speakers, forming personal and professional relationships that will continue well beyond the fellowship year” Scott said.