What can we do to prevent outbreaks of infectious diseases from becoming epidemics or pandemic? In this course, you’ll learn the facts about infectious diseases and medical responses. We’ll focus on the public health laws and policies that provide the framework for effective prevention, like quarantine laws, drug development policies, and bioterrorism and biodefense.
Diseases like Ebola, AIDS, and SARS pose a worldwide danger in our era of globalization, now that they can jump from one continent to another in just a few hours by hopping on a plane with their human hosts. When a disease outbreak occurs, preventing an epidemic requires intensive, coordinated international, national, and local efforts. Governments and international organizations have developed a set of public health policies and laws to enable them to fight these diseases with tools like emergency deployment of medical personnel, aggressive diagnosis and treatment protocols, vaccine and drug development, and quarantines.
This course will teach you about outbreaks of infectious diseases, how an outbreak can become an epidemic or pandemic, our toolkit of preventative measures and responses, and the laws and policies that enable those systems to operate. It features tiered instruction, with fun instruction using movies, games, and interviews to make learning easy for people with a general interest in the topic, followed by advanced instruction on a few hot topics for those who want to learn more.
Week One: Introduction. This week’s lesson will bring you up to speed on the essential facts about disease outbreaks and the framework for fighting them, so that you will be prepared to delve into these issues in depth in the following weeks.
Week Two: Understanding Infectious Diseases. This week, you will learn about infectious diseases and how they spread.
Week Three: Global Health Security. Disease outbreaks anywhere in the world can have global implications, so our preparedness and response to them must be global as well. During this week’s lesson, we will cover the legal and policy frameworks for international cooperation on health security.
Week Four: Local Countermeasures. These diseases may be global, but ultimately they have to be fought locally, one victim and one community at a time. This week’s topic is the law and policy shaping local interventions in the United States. While we use the U.S. as our example, similar issues will arise anywhere in the world that an outbreak occurs.
None – all are welcome. If you are interested in this topic you may be interested in other online programs at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
You do not need to do any outside reading for this course. Each week, we will make some recommendations about books and articles you may want to read on your own time, if you are interested in learning more about any of the subjects we cover.
Each week, there will be short videos of lectures, panel discussions, and interviews. Some weeks, there will also be links to reading materials that are available on line. The videos and readings will be interspersed with quiz questions to ensure that you understand the material. There will also be weekly assignments, including essays and discussion board posts. We will use movies, games, and hypothetical scenarios to help you learn. We will also offer advanced instruction on a few hot topics for those who want to delve into the material in more detail.
Do I need a textbook?
No textbook is required. However, the students may be provided with supplemental reading assignments during this course that will either be provided by the instructors or will be available online.
Is this a self-paced course or do I need to be available at specific times?
The student does not need to be available at specific times to complete the requirements of this course. However, each module needs to be completed within a given time period, which is typically 1 week in length.
Will I get a certificate after completing this class?
Students who successfully complete this class will receive a Statement of Accomplishment signed by the instructor.
How can I continue my interest in this and other law topics?
Find out more about online programs at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.