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A Healthy Legal Climate

The UAlbany/Albany Law Affiliation Committee gathers at the signing of a new agreement providing a collaborative academic offering for students pursuing a law degree with a Master of Public Health. (Photo by Mark Schmidt)

ALBANY, N.Y. (August 14, 2017) – The burgeoning legal aspects of public health have found their complement in a new agreement between the School of Public Health and Albany Law School that creates enhanced academic opportunities for students at both institutions.

The initiative establishes a collaborative academic offering for students pursuing a law degree with a Master of Public Health.

“This new JD/MPH creates significant opportunities for Albany Law and UAlbany students interested in the fast growing areas of health law and public health policy,” said Alicia Ouellette, Albany Law’s president and dean. “It also complements our other collaborative agreements in areas such as business administration, social work, cybersecurity and criminal justice.

“These offerings are yet another example of the way our schools partner to provide students with the benefits of both a comprehensive, public research university and a private, independent law school. Our affiliation offers law students opportunities to explore various disciplines in their academic journey for a richer, well-rounded experience.”

The agreement calls on each school to recognize and accept credits for a range of specific courses, creating a more efficient experience — specifically less costly and less time — for students. The new program allows interested students to complete the JD/MPH in 3.5 years, including summer coursework.

“We can now provide our students with an opportunity to address and solve issues at the intersection between law and public health right here in the Capital Region,” said Laura Schweitzer, interim dean of the School of Public Health.

“Given our School’s unique partnership with the New York State Department of Health and our proximity to state government, major hospitals, health plans and a variety of community organizations, our School offers students a chance to study within an ecosystem designed to solve the most pressing public health problems facing the state and nation.”

Albany Law School classes that may interest the public health student include Legal Issues in Medicine, Bioethics, Genetics and the Law; Human Reproduction: Legal and Moral Issues; Fraud and Abuse in the Health Care Industry; Retirement Planning and Health Care in the Age of Obamacare; Elder Law; International Human Rights Law; and State and Local Environmental Law.

Likewise, UAlbany public health classes that may interest the law student include Strategy & Leadership Applications in Health Management; Program Development in Heath Promotion; Computer Programming for Data Management and Analysis in Public Health; Health Care Organization, Delivery and Financing; Social and Behavioral Aspects of Public Health; Community Based Public Health; and Emergency Preparedness: The Public Health Perspective.

Students will remain responsible for completing each of the separate degrees at their respective school, but the articulation agreement creates a path for a more efficient and collaborative approach. Albany Law School students who are admitted to the Master of Public Health Program must complete their first year of studies at Albany Law School before they are eligible to transfer credits toward their J.D. from the Master of Public Health program.

In addition, as part of the program, students are eligible for field placement/ summer & semester in practice opportunities in organizations such as the:

• New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, Counsel’s Office
• Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS)
• New York State Attorney General – Medicaid Fraud Control Unit
• New York State Department of Health, Division of Legal Affairs, House Counsel
• New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services
• New York State Office of the Medicaid Inspector General
• St. Peter’s Health Partners

After years of collaboration, Albany Law School and the University at Albany announced a formal affiliation in October 2015 to enhance academic opportunities for students and increase opportunities for new research and grant prospects.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.