Online Master’s in Health Law and Policy – Hofstra Law’s Gitenstein Institute and Bioethics Center

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Jennifer Chen: Hello everyone. Thank you for joining us. We will begin in a few minutes.

Jennifer Chen: Hello everyone. Welcome to Hofstra Law Masters in Health Law and Policy information session. My name is Jennifer Chen and I’m the Enrollment Advisor for the Online Health Law and Policy Program and I’ll be your moderator for today. Before we get started, I’d like to review a few housekeeping items with you. Please make sure you have enabled your media player in order to hear audio and see your presentation. The webinar is being recorded for playback purposes so you are in a listen mode only. Our advisers will share the recording link with you the next few days. If you take a look at your dashboard on your screen in front of you on the left hand side, there should be a Q&A window. This is where you can submit any program questions, comments, or concern at any time. As the moderator, I will collect all the questions and bring them up during the Q&A session at the end of a presentation. We already have few questions, so please keep them coming throughout the presentation. We’ll answer as many as we can if time permits. Also, if you have any technical issues, you can submit them here and we’ll try to help.

Jennifer Chen: Now that we’re all familiar with our dashboard, let’s get started with the webinar.

Jennifer Chen: As previously stated, my name is Jennifer Chen and I’m the Enrollment Advisor for the Online Health Law and Policy Program at Hofstra Law. I’m your moderator today and you can also ask me any programs’ or admissions related question during our live Q&A session towards the end of our webinar. Today, our webinar is featuring Professor Dolgin at Hofstra Law and at this time I would request professor to introduce herself.

Dr. Dolgin: Thanks Jennifer. It’s a great pleasure to be here. We’re all very, very proud of our online health law program. As Jennifer said, I’m Janet Dolgin. I’m a professor at Hofstra Law School and at Hofstra medical school and I am in addition, the faculty program director for our online health law programs.

Jennifer Chen: Thank you Professor Dolgin. Our agenda today is as follows, our webinar will be focused on Hofstra Law, Gitenstein Institute and the Bioethics Center. We will first give you an overview of Hofstra Law. Then we’ll have a guest faculty member professor Dolgin give you an overview of the Gitenstein Institute, the Hofstra Bioethics Center, as well as the type of projects that are ongoing at Hofstra University in the fields of health, law and policy. We will then continue with an overview of the two online health law and policy program and the admissions requirements. At the end we will have a live Q&A session where you will get to ask professor and myself any program or admissions related questions.

Jennifer Chen: Hofstra Law is home to an alumni base of more than 10,600 members, 51 administrators and a distinguished full time faculty of 46 full time professors, six visiting professors and nearly 60 adjunct professors. Including many scholars recognized as national and international experts in the field.

Jennifer Chen: Gitenstein Institute for health law and policy. Many of the faculty member who participate in the online health law policy program are actively involved in projects and developing programs at the Gitenstein Institute for health law and policy. The Maurice A. Deane School of Law is part of Hofstra University and is accredited by the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar of the American Bar Association. Now, I’d like to hand it over to professor Dolgin so we can learn about the Gitenstein Institute and the Bioethics Center.

Dr. Dolgin: My pleasure, Jen. I think I’ll begin with two courses that I myself teach in the online program. The bioethics and the law and public health law policy and ethics. Bioethics and law, to me at least, they’re both extremely exciting. I think the material in each course speaks to essential questions about being a person. Bioethics and the law focuses on the moral parameters of health law and in particular anything related to moral questions involving the body, life, death, reproduction, genomics, and so on. The second course, public health law policy and ethics focuses, as the name suggests, on the intersection of public health, law and law itself. And in this course we consider issues such as and there are many, many more mandatory vaccination, responses to national disasters, bio-terrorism, environmental issues an public health, an increasingly important matter in our world. There are a host of additional courses in our online program and I think each in its own way is as exciting as these two are.

Dr. Dolgin: I want to introduce the work that a health lawyer are a person who’s not a lawyer but trained in health law, might consider by focusing on some of the projects in which the students in our onsite program are engaged both for the Gitenstein Institute and the Hofstra Bioethics Center. And I described them because they’re interesting but also because they really should give you a sense of the sort of work that helps lawyers and people trained in health law kind of engage in.

Dr. Dolgin: I’ll begin with the Gitenstein Institute and will talk first about what we call the CHAT project. Then about something we call legal mapping, which is actually a parameter of the CHAT project but it’s different enough to be described separately. I’ll describe some of the work we’re doing for veterans living in our community and then I’ll talk about our medical legal partnership, a partnership between Hofstra Law and the Northwell Health System. I’ll also describe some of the work of our Bioethics Center. I’ll focus on our certificate program and clinical bioethics, and on our student run bioethics blog.

Dr. Dolgin: The CHAT, we obviously like the term but it’s actually an acronym for Conversations Health And Treatment. The first part of CHAT educates clinicians, doctors, nurses, social workers, therapists, and so on in matters related to end of life decision making for patients and for patients’ family members and friends particularly when patients are not able to make their own decisions. The second parameter of the CHAT program that I’ll talk about is the legal map and this map shows the current status and history of laws related to advanced care planning in the United States since the promulgation of the first such law.

Dr. Dolgin: The first part of CHAT sends interdisciplinary groups and one of the things you should know about all of our projects is they’re all interdisciplinary. CHAT involves doctors at Northwell, nurses at Northwell including RNs and NPs, social workers as well as us, the lawyers. We, the lawyers along with our students, physicians, nurses and others go both into healthcare facilities and into local communities to talk to people about how best to plan for medical decision making should the patient, him or herself lose the capacity to engage in medical decision making. This is a very serious and very difficult topic and one that at some point will affect virtually everybody in some manner or another. In addition, when we make our presentations, our students come equipped to direct audience members through the execution of advanced directive forms. We’re in New York state, so we rely on New York state forms, but every state has its own advanced directive forms. Community members and clinicians learn about end of life decision making from the perspectives of law, medicine, public health, nursing and so on. And these discussions can be deeply meaningful.

Dr. Dolgin: The second parameter of CHAT is our Legal Mapping Project and I think you see here the website you can go in and take a look at it yourselves. This site, the content has been provided by our law students who have done really impressive research delineating the end of life advanced directive laws in every single state. We do update this map but if you click on any state you’ll see all of the laws relevant to that state as well as the forms that are used in that state. So it’s a very useful site. But in addition, you can look at it through time so you can examine shifts in the law state by state over time. Even more exciting perhaps, we’re now working closely with a public health professor at Hofstra to add overlay data to our legal mapping site. This will be non-legal data including information about number of days in hospice care, satisfaction of family members through patients’ very serious illness on door, dying. If the patient survives and that’s a great ending, satisfaction of the patient. We want to add data of this thought to our site so that we can correlate it with differences in the law from state to state in with shifts in the law over time and hopefully figure out what best practices are and then advocate for them throughout the nation.

Dr. Dolgin: The next project is our so called Mission Critical Project. This project serves veterans in our local area, actually Nassau County where Hofstra is situated in Queens, have one of the largest veterans’ population in the nation. Four or five years ago, the Law School developed a legal clinic for veterans. I began it and operated it for a few years with a colleague who is a retired JAG officer and himself now a Lieutenant Colonel. And we brought a small group of law students together to represent low-income veterans in compensation disability cases and in discharge upgrade cases. Once we began, we were very, very fortunate to receive the wonderfully generous gift from the Entenmann Family Foundation to support our veteran work. And we now, I’m delighted to say have a full time, very expert and a lovely clinician who runs the clinic. Every year we bring 16 law students into the clinic to serve the legal needs of our veterans population. We’re actually working to expand our medical legal partnership to serve veterans’ wider legal needs.

Dr. Dolgin: And that actually brings me to I will medical legal partnership. This is a very, very exciting project. It was initiated in 2018, the medical legal partnership, which I’ll here call the MLP really embeds lawyers on medical teams in a number of clinics in the Northwell Health System. Low-income patients are screened by patient navigators under the direction of doctors and nurses for health harming legal needs. And I’ll say a word or two in a minute about what some of those might be. Patients who screen positive are referred either to lawyers or to social workers. And what is the point of this? Well per se, it’s obviously important but even more we find that good health depends of course on medical care but quite as much as it depends on responding to the negative social determinants of health.

Dr. Dolgin: The World Health Organization has defined these very simply, anyone can understand the definition but it’s profound. The conditions in which people are born grow, live, work and age. If those conditions are terrible, it’s hard to maintain good health and hard to return to good health.

Dr. Dolgin: The National Center for Medical Legal Partnership has an acronym for the sorts of assistance lawyers can provide in responding to health-harming legal needs or if you will, the negative social determinants of health. Their acronym is iHELP. The I stands for income and includes help with a wide variety of benefits. Benefits related to solving problems of food scares, of energy, finding energy resources for people, access to healthcare and so on.

Dr. Dolgin: The H stands for housing and this is sort of an obvious one. It’s the example we often give when parents come to the emergency department week after week with a child in the middle of an asthma attack. The child will typically be given nebulizers, medication in the hospital and will return home. But if the home is filled with poisons and toxins, the child’s asthma is very likely to return. And when we see kids coming back week after week, we screen them for problems in the habitability of their housing. And then our lawyers and our student lawyers can go to their landlords and say, guess what? In New York state there are habitability laws and this apartment has to be made habitable. And once the toxins are removed from the apartment, the child is very likely to improve significantly.

Dr. Dolgin: The E of iHELP stands for both employment and education. And those typically involved with regard to employment may very well involve issues of employment discrimination, which we handle and for kids, our lawyers will help get families individualized educational plans so that the child’s education will be maximally appropriate to the individual child’s needs.

Dr. Dolgin: The L of iHELP stands for legal status. And for us that particularly refers to immigration status and status of the veteran. We have many, many cases involving clinic patients with questions about their immigration status. And as I mentioned, we’re trying to expand our medical legal partnership to include a veteran’s clinic.

Dr. Dolgin: The P in iHELP stands for personal family and this could involve a slew of issues, but at the moment we do not handle that last iHELP category. We may at some point but for a variety of reasons we have decided to begin with the I H E L help and hold off on the P.

Dr. Dolgin: We are very excited about the work we’re doing. Our attorneys are going into the clinics, working with the physicians and the patient navigators, bringing student lawyers who are actively involved under attorney supervision and representing our MLP patient clients. It’s amazing training for our students. This work has been helpful for our clients, for the hospital and has been very instructive and meaningful for our students and for their professors.

Dr. Dolgin: In addition to the actual lawyering work in the hospital clinics, our students are helping us and our Northwell partners with a variety of other projects. They helped, for example, develop a recently held health and housing town hall. This was a wonderful event that brought together a wide group of community advocates interested in local community housing policies with the aim of making housing more affordable and more habitable for community residents. And the event led to a large list of projects. The event was not a conference that was and is now over. It led to a list of projects in which as a group we are all going to stay involved, and we are going to try to continue our advocacy work.

Dr. Dolgin: Our students also helped develop this series of what we call know your rights pamphlets. These are educational materials for community residents that in short summaries show them the sorts of legal rights that they have with regard to things such as housing, employment, education, legal status, benefits and so on. I feel really profoundly grateful to be able to be involved in the MLP work. And I know my colleagues and my students share that gratitude.

Dr. Dolgin: The Hofstra Bioethics Center is related to the Gitenstein Institute, but is independent. It’s a collaboration between the Law School and the Medical School at Hofstra and it involves lawyers and law students, medicine and medical students as well as nurses and nursing students in our new nursing school.

Dr. Dolgin: I want to talk, as I said about two bioethics projects. The first is our Bioethics Certificate program. It’s, as most of our projects, interdisciplinary. It’s a two semester program that allows students to achieve certification in clinical bioethics so that they are certified to work in hospitals on ethics committees or as members of the ethics consult teams. This program is run by me, a physician and a nurse and our students include, it’s actually a totally wonderful student group. We have Hofstra students from the law school, the med school, the nursing school and the public health school, but we also have working professionals. Every year we have doctors and nurses and then often we’ll have at least one member of the clergy, a journalist, a scientist. The courses are open to anybody interested in clinical bioethics. Our students get to attend hospital ethics committee meetings and a supplemental or one credit program allows them to learn in depth about ethics consultations in the hospital.

Dr. Dolgin: Also under the aegis of the Bioethics Center, our law students have put together a bioethics’ blog and you see the site there. You can go and look at the blog. Our students look, at least one student, each week for a new happening that involves bioethical challenges. They will find an article that’s appropriate for posting on the site, they’ll summarize it in a paragraph and then post the site so that anybody can go and look at the fuller article. And this is a wonderful educational resource for the public. Both this site and our legal map are free and open to the public.

Dr. Dolgin: Our students have also worked with us on the creation of a series of conferences. We’ve been extremely fortunate to receive funding for the Garfunkel Wild Thought Leadership in Action Series of conferences. It’s funded by a law firm in the Tristate area that does a great deal of important health law work. Our most recent conference and I’m not going to name every one that we’ve done, but just to give you a sense of the breadth of these conferences, the 2019 conference focused on the uses and misuses of artificial intelligence in healthcare, obviously an increasingly important matter.

Dr. Dolgin: Earlier conferences have included Mission Critical: veterans’ health summit. This conference looked at some of the invisible wounds of our veterans population including in particular PTSD and traumatic brain injury. Transforming the landscape: healthcare law and advocacy for transgender clients examined legal responses to the concerns of transgender people. Puff the Magic Medicine: the medical marijuana movement was held when the movement to legalize marijuana had just begun in the States and we focused almost exclusively on the legalization of marijuana for medical uses. And Affordable Healthcare’s Next Act looked at the challenges and there are many, many that are still facing us. The challenges created by the Affordable Care Act.

Dr. Dolgin: This discussion really, I wanted to give you a sense of what we’re doing here at the law school but also a sense of how interdisciplinary all our programs are including our online health law program and to give you, as I said at the very start, a sense of the remarkable breadth of work in which healthcare lawyers and people engaged in and knowledgeable about health law can work. Our hope today is we’ve inspired some of you to develop a specialization in this burgeoning area of work, of policy, of law, of advocacy and we really look forward to some of you joining our online health law program.

Jennifer Chen: Thank you so much professor Dolgin. I think it is definitely beneficial for our audience to get a deeper insight into the type of projects and initiatives that are ongoing in the field of health law and policy at Hofstra Maurice A. Deane School of Law. At this time I would like to provide an overview of the two online programs offered at Hofstra on the health law and policy.
Jennifer Chen: For the Master of Arts in Health Law and Policy, it is designed for healthcare professionals who are looking to learn the language of health law and distinguish their role as leaders with specialized health care compliance expertise. For the Master of Laws in Health Law and Policy, it’s designed for lawyers and experienced legal professionals who are looking to specialize their legal knowledge in health law and deliver expert legal counsel.

Jennifer Chen: For the admissions and application requirements. For the Master of Arts in Health Law and Policy program, one must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. For the Master of Laws in Health Law and Policy, one must have a JD or a bachelor’s of law degree, which is known as the LLB. The application requirements are as follows. You would need to request official academic transcripts from all institutions attended. Fill out an online application, an updated resume or a CV. Professional statement. And two letters of recommendation. No GRE/GMAT or LSAT or any residency requirements.

Jennifer Chen: We now open up for Q&A. I’ve been seeing questions coming in throughout the webinar and please keep in mind if we can’t get through all the questions today, the admissions advisors along with myself will be sure to follow up with you and address any outstanding questions individually via email or phone. So let’s start with the first question. How can online students get enrolled with the Gitenstein Institute and the Bioethics Center?

Dr. Dolgin: Ah, that’s a wonderful question and it’s a project that we within the law school are working hard on right now. Obviously a number of our projects involve the need for onsite presence and door JD degrees, but there are a number of ways in which we’re hoping online students can participate in some of the Gitenstein and Bioethics projects. For example, all of our projects involve very significant research and some of that is legal research, some of it is public health, some is policy, but we could create some positions for online students to help us with that work if they’re interested. We might have online students participate in the ongoing development of the bioethics’ blog or online students could help with our Legal Mapping Project, either with updating state laws or with finding overlay data and correlating it with the legal information already on the site. I can’t make promises at this point, but we’re working hard on this and we’re hoping to offer at least a few positions in one of these areas or another to online students.

Jennifer Chen: Thank Janet. The second question that I have on my list is what are other admission requirements for the online master in health law and policy? For the Master of Arts in Health Law and Policy, you would require a bachelor’s degree in any discipline from a regionally accredited institution with a GPA of three and above. For the Master of Laws in Health Law and Policy, you are required to have a bachelor’s degree of law or a JD with a 3.0 GPA and above. But if your GPA is below a 3.0, Hofstra allow you to write a GPA statement and would take that into consideration when applying.

Jennifer Chen: The third question that I have is I don’t have a healthcare background. Can I still apply for the program? Yes, of course. You can still apply for the program if you have a bachelor’s degree for the Master of Arts in Health Law and Policy and for them Master of Laws in Health Law and Policy, you would need to have a bachelor’s degree of law or a JD.

Jennifer Chen: The next question, how long does it take to complete the master’s program and how many courses are there? For the Master of Arts in Health Law and Policy, it’s a program course for 24 months. You’re required to take 11 courses. You’ll be taking two courses per semester with one week break in between. Whereas [inaudible 00:34:08] for the full semester of 15 weeks with no break in between. It also applies to the LLM program, which is the Master of Laws in Health Law and Policy, but it’s shorter is for 18 months and you would require to take nine courses.

Jennifer Chen: So the next one is what is the cost of the program? For the Master of Arts in Health Law and Policy, the total cost of the program is $41,940 which does not include any university’s fees or books, with per credit hour is $1,398. First semester you’re required to take five credits. Each semester is a three credit course followed by a two credits, so the breakdown of the first semester cost is $6,990. The total credit hour for the Master of Arts program is 30.

Jennifer Chen: For the next program which is the Master of Laws in Health Law and Policy, the total cost of the program is $34,950 with per credit hour is $1,398, which doesn’t include books and university’s fees as well. First semester you’re required to take five credits. Each semester is a tree clinic course followed by a two credits. So to break down, the first semester cost is $6,990. Total credit hours that you’re required to take for the Master of Laws program is 25. You will be registering one semester at a time, so you do not need to pay for the entire 30 or the 25 credits upfront.
Jennifer Chen: Thank you for your valuable time. I hope you were able to learn something new about an online program offered at Hofstra Law, which includes the Gitenstein Institute and the Bioethics Center. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the advisors you have been working with. Shiromi, Claudette and I will be available at 1-855-424-0282. Once again, I’d like to thank Professor Dolgin and our audience for taking the time out of your busy schedule to join us today. I hope all of you have a great week.