The core of the Clinic’s work is student advocacy for health equity. Students are placed in externships with community and government partners where they work to dismantle legal barriers that negatively impact the health and well–being of vulnerable communities and individuals. Clinic students also act as advocates for community, non-profit, educational, faith-based, and other organizations and groups engaged in work designed to further health justice. Coursework for the Health Law Practice Clinic examines how the Constitution, statutes, and the common law frame these issues. Class time focuses on advanced practice skills needed to transition from law students to practice-ready attorneys. Classroom discussions are designed to help students connect theory to practice, and frequently include guest lectures from practicing attorneys.
Students immerse themselves in the right to adequate health care, access to insurance and government-supported health programs, immigrant access to health services, challenging discrimination, and the ways in which government authorities can promote public health and health equity. Students focus on those who are denied access, coverage, or quality of care due to race, citizenship, gender, LGBTQIA+ identities, disability, or lack of financial resources. Classroom discussions examine how the law determines access to health care and regulates the quality of patient care. Areas of law included in this examination include the federal Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, and Medicare, and the responsibilities of medical professionals, drug companies, and government entities to promote and protect health.