course ID: 2020_cBHF

Using Law and Policy Effectively in Public Health: The Case of Covid-19


Drawing on the legal responses to Covid-19, this one-day workshop provides participants with the tools they need to:

1) Mobilize public health law-related knowledge and capacity within their organizations

 2) Use and assess law and policy effectively through multidisciplinary team work within their organizations

3) Use and assess the role of human rights norms related to the rights to health and accountability mechanisms in advancing public health goals.


The workshop will be built around two core concepts, the Transdisciplinary Model of Public Health Law and the Five Essential Public Health Law Services.

The “transdisciplinary model” unites two traditions of law-related work in public health:

1) “Public health law practice”: the traditionally recognized lawyerly functions of normative and doctrinal research, counseling, and representation, which continue to be crucial to the effective operation of health organizations and systems; and

2) “Legal epidemiology”: the legal work that public health professionals have done for decades without necessarily thinking of it as legal, including policy development, building support for new policies, enforcement, and monitoring and evaluation of legal interventions and the impact of laws on health.

These concepts will serve as the framework in which to review the ongoing international and national-level legal response to Covid-19. At the end of the workshop, participants should have a strong grasp of state of legal evidence and practice in Covid-19 response, and be able to put this knowledge into practice especially in terms of governance, policy-making, policy implementation and evaluation within their organizations and research. Ultimately they should have a reinforced capacity to work in multidisciplinary teams to enhance the effective use of law and policy solutions in their public health work.


Watching videos and reading assigned texts in advance; completing individual and organizational self-assessment tool sent before the Summer School.

Dominic Sprumont

Professor of Health Law, University of Neuchâtel (CH)

Luisa Cabal

Chief, Human Rights and Law, UNAIDS (Colombia)

Scott Burris

Professor of Law and Public Health, Temple University (USA)