“People often assume it’s medical malpractice, but it’s quite a bit bigger,” she said. “Health care is one of the most regulated industries out there. Employers need people who understand and practice health law.”
The program launched in 2004 with a handful of classes and expanded over time, said Stacie Kershner, the law center’s associate director. “We explain to incoming students that if they’re interested in this particular aspect of the law, this is a way to focus their efforts. They’ll come out with a generalist’s degree, but they’ll also have foundational knowledge in the health, too.”
One of the hallmarks of the program is HeLP, the school’s partnership with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and the Atlanta Legal Aid Society. Students work with low-income families and their medical teams to tackle tough issues that impact health. Supervised by clinical faculty, students might take on cases of housing conditions, childhood disabilities and health care access, or draft wills and advanced directives. A collaboration with the medical schools at Emory and Morehouse allows GSU’s students to learn alongside medical students, residents and graduate students in public health, social work and bioethics.
“Sometimes clients need what’s beyond what a doctor or hospital can provide, things like help with Social Security benefits, for example,” said Fuse Brown. “Students work with real clients on cases with real-world applications. They’re doing something for people who really need these benefits, and our students love the experience.”
Culverhouse was part of a clinic team that worked on six cases during the spring semester. “The focus is always on helping clients through the judicial system,” she said. “Some may not have the time or legal literacy to confront these issues, and we can help while getting class credit and experience.”
Clinical experience was just one factor that confirmed for Culverhouse she’d made the right career choice.
“One of my favorite things is being part of a strong alumni network,” she said. “I’ve also worked with our professional development team that’s connected me to health care internships at Grady, the CDC and a malpractice insurance company. It’s been great to have those opportunities.”
Information about the Georgia State College of Law is online at law.gsu.edu.
SEND US YOUR STORIES. Each week we look at programs, projects and successful endeavors at area schools, from pre-K to grad school. To suggest a story, contact H.M. Cauley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 770-744-3042.