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Essential Readings in Health Policy and Law

Author(s): Joel B. Teitelbaum, JD, LLM, Department of Health Policy, Milken Institute School of Public Health, The George Washington University
Sara E. Wilensky, JD, PhD, Department of Health Policy, Milken Institute School of Public Health, The George Washington University
  • ISBN-13: 9780763738518
  • ISBN-10:0763738514
  • Paperback    454 pages      © 2009
Price: $147.95 US List
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Instructor Resources: Sample Syllabus


This compilation of carefully selected readings is meant to allow for deeper analysis of the issues covered in the companion textbook, Essentials of Health Policy and Law, yet also serves as an excellent complement to any text on health policy, or as a stand-alone text. 


The book is divided into five broad parts:  Part 1 provides a basic overview of public health; Part 2 covers topics in health care quality; Part 3 centers on the intersection of policy and law with medicine and ethics; Part 4 offers several resources on the topic of health system reform; finally, Part 5 is a series of resources collectively called “Tools for Health Policy Analysis”. 


Featuring thought-provoking perspectives of individual authors, policymakers, and judges that span the spectrum of political and social thought, this collection of readings will stimulate classroom discussion and reflection.

  • Each grouping of readings is introduced by framing commentary and questions.
  • Includes practical articles that describe the methods—and potential pitfalls—of policy analysis. 
  • Offers examples of the administrative regulations, informal government memoranda, and budget proposals that serve as important instruments in a policymaker’s toolbox.

It is an outstanding addition to  the Jones & Bartlett Learning Essential Public Health series.

Available as a bundle with Essentials of Health Policy and Law.


Part 1. Overview of Public Health
1. Bernard Turnock, “What is Public Health?” from Essentials of Public Health
2. Larry Gostin et al., “The Law and the Public’s Health: The Foundations” from Law in Public Health Practice
3. Case law: Jacobson v. Massachusetts (validity of state mandatory vaccine law)
4. Case law: DeShaney v. Winnebago County Social Services Department (public welfare and the “negative Constitution”)
5. Case law: Town of Castle Rock, Colorado v. Gonzales (public welfare and the “negative Constitution”)
6. Executive Summary from The Future of the Public’s Health in the 21st Century

Part 2. Health Care Quality
7. Executive Summary from Crossing the Quality Chasm
8. Elizabeth McGlynn et al., “The Quality of Health Care Delivered to Adults in the United States” from New England Journal of Medicine
9. Summary from Unequal Treatment
10. Case law: Canterbury v. Spence (patient-oriented standard of informed consent)
11. Case law: Jones v. Chicago (managed care liability for institutional negligence)

Part 3. Policy, Law, Medicine, and Ethics
12. Carol Levine, “Analyzing Pandora’s Box: The History of Bioethics” from The Ethics of Bioethics
13. James Childress et al., “Public Health Ethics: Mapping the Terrain”
14. Case law: Roe v. Wade (constitutional right to abortion)
15. Case law: Planned Parenthood v. Casey (validity of Pennsylvania abortion statute)
16. The Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act
17. Case law: Gonzales v. Carhart (constitutionality of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act)
18. Case law: Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health (constitutional right to withdraw life-sustaining treatment)
19. Case law: Washington v. Glucksberg (physician-assisted suicide)
20. Case law: Vacco v. Quill (physician-assisted suicide)
21. The Oregon Death With Dignity Act statute, regulations, and state’s report on its use
22. Case law: Gonzalez v. Oregon (physician-assisted suicide)

Part 4. Rethinking the Public Health and Health Care Systems
23. James Morone, “Morality, Politics, and Health Policy” from Policy Challenges in Modern Health Care
24. Thomas Rice, “Can Markets Give Us the Health System We Want?”
25. Sara Wilensky and Dylan Roby, “Health Centers and Health Insurance: Complements, Not Alternatives”
26. Bruce Siegel, Marsha Regenstein, and Peter Shin, “Health Reform and the Safety Net: Big Opportunities; Major Risks”
27. Sara Collins, Karen Davis, and Jennifer Kriss, “ An Analysis of Leading Congressional Health Care Bills, 2005-2007: Part 1, Insurance Coverage
28. State Coverage Initiative, “State of the States: Building Hope, Raising Expectations”
29. Lawrence Brown, “Comparing Health Systems in Four Countries: Lessons for the United States”
30. Karen Davis, invited testimony to the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee, “Learning from high performance health systems around the globe”

Part 5. Tools for Health Policy Analysis
31. Gail Wilensky, “Framing the Public Policy Question: Financial Incentives for Efficiency and Effectiveness”
32. Selections from Department of Health and Human Services Regulations on Standards for Privacy and Individually Identifiable Health Information as required by the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act
33. State Medicaid Director Letter concerning the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005
34. Department of Health and Human Services 2008 Budget in Brief concerning Medicaid and SCHIP
35. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate concerning the Improving Head Start Act of 2007
36. New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Board of Health, Amendment to the New York City Health Code, concerning phasing out artificial trans-fat in New York City food services establishments
37. Edwin Park and Matt Broaddus, “SCHIP Reuthorization: President’s Budget Would Provide Less than Half the Funds that States Need to Maintain SCHIP Enrollment.”

Joel B. Teitelbaum, JD, LLM-Department of Health Policy, Milken Institute School of Public Health, The George Washington University

Joel Teitelbaum, JD, LLM, is an Associate Professor of Health Policy, Director of the Hirsh Health Law and Policy Program, and Co-Director of the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership, all at the George Washington University (GW) Milken Institute School of Public Health in Washington, D.C. He also carries a faculty appointment with the GW Law School, and for 11 years he served as Vice Chair for Academic Affairs in the Department of Health Policy and Management. Professor Teitelbaum has taught graduate courses on health care law, health care civil rights, public health law, minority health policy, and long-term care law and policy, and an undergraduate survey course on health law. He was the first member of the School of Public Health faculty to receive the University-wide Bender Teaching Award, he has received the School’s Excellence in Teaching Award, and he is a member of the GW Academy of Distinguished Teachers. He has authored or co-authored dozens of articles, book chapters, policy papers, and reports on civil rights issues in health care, insurance law and policy, medical-legal partnership, health reform and its implementation, and behavioral health care quality, and he is co-author of Essentials of Health Policy and Law, Third Edition (2017), published by Jones & Bartlett Learning. Among other organizations, Professor Teitelbaum is a member of Delta Omega, the national honor society recognizing excellence in the field of public health; the ASPH/Pfizer Public Health Academy of Distinguished Teachers; and the Society for American Law Teachers.  In 2016, during President Obama’s second term, Professor Teitelbaum was named to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary’s Advisory Committee on National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives for 2030 (i.e., Healthy People 2030). He also serves as Special Advisor to the American Bar Association’s Commission on Veterans’ Legal Services and as a member of the Board of Advisors of PREPARE, a national advanced care planning organization.

Additional Titles by this Author

Sara E. Wilensky, JD, PhD-Department of Health Policy, Milken Institute School of Public Health, The George Washington University

Sara Wilensky, JD, PhD, is Special Services Faculty for Undergraduate Education in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She is also the Director of the  Undergraduate Program in Public Health.

Dr. Wilensky has taught a health policy analysis course and health systems overview course required of all students in the Master of Public Health–Health Policy degree program, as well as the health policy course required of all undergraduate students majoring in public health. She has been the principal investigator or co-principal investigator on numerous health policy research projects relating to a variety of topics, such as Medicaid coverage, access and financing, community health centers, childhood obesity, HIV preventive services, financing of public hospitals, and data sharing barriers and opportunities between public health and Medicaid agencies.

As Director of the Undergraduate Program in Public Health, Dr. Wilensky is responsible for the day-to-day management of the program, including implementation of the dual BS/MPH program. In addition, she is responsible for faculty oversight, course scheduling, new course development, and student satisfaction.

Dr. Wilensky is involved with several GW service activities: she has taught a service learning in public health course in the undergraduate program; she has been heavily involved in making GW’s Writing in the Disciplines program part of the undergraduate major in public health; and she is the advisor to students receiving a Master in Public Policy or a Master in Public Administration with a focus on health policy from GW’s School of Public Policy and Public Administration.

Prior to joining GW, Dr. Wilensky was a law clerk for federal Judge Harvey Bartle III in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and worked as an associate at the law firm of Cutler and Stanfield, LLP, in Denver, Colorado.

Additional Titles by this Author
  • “The cases and other readings are wonderful in the way they focus on some of the most significant and complex health policy issues.”

    —Dr. Gary Helfand, Department of Health and Public Administration, University of Hawaii, West Oahu

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Sample Syllabus


A Sample Syllabus is now available for qualified instructors. Click here to download. 

The following instructor resources are available to qualified instructors for download

ISBN-13: 9780763738518


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