HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. —
This term Hofstra Law School is co-sponsoring a unique course, the principal aim of which is to bridge the gap between the legal and medical fields. The class, aptly titled Law and Medicine, Cooperative Professionalism, is offered jointly by Hofstra University and Nassau University Medical Center (NUMC).
"With the passage of sweeping health care reform, the intersection of medicine and the law is becoming increasingly evident" said Janet Dolgin, the Jack and Freda Dicker Distinguished Professor of Health Care Law at Hofstra Law and professor of science education at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ Medical School. Dolgin co-teaches the course with Samuel Packer, M.D., professor of ophthalmology at the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine.
Law and Medicine, Cooperative Professionalism was first taught by Dolgin and Packer in the fall 2009 semester. It is the hope of the university that the course will eventually become a regular offering and will encourage young lawyers and doctors to work more collaboratively as they embark on their careers. The medical students taking part in course are from a variety of schools and currently are doing their clinical rotations at NUMC.
“This course is a great opportunity for medical students and law students to get out of their educational silos,” said David Fagan, M.D., program director of pediatric residency at Nassau University Medical Center. “The medical students realize that attorneys are not just the ‘people who sue doctors,’ while the law students gain invaluable exposure to the human face of medicine.”
Throughout the course, law students will learn about hospital care and the manner in which lawyers and physicians might respond to a wide set of clinical and bioethical dilemmas that occur in hospital settings. During part of the semester, law students will be introduced to the theory and skills required for legal and bioethical consultations about patient care in hospitals. At other times, the law and medical students will meet together at NUMC.
“Hofstra Law School and NUMC share a common goal: to educate professionals who will make a positive impact in their fields,” Dolgin added. “We firmly believe that this course is a key component to laying the groundwork in an area that, frankly, has been largely unaddressed. It is our hope that other institutions will implement similar courses to further develop this trend.”