Introduction to Public Health Law and Ethics


To develop the ability to identify law and ethics as action instruments in public health at the national, European (EU) and international (WHO, etc.) levels;
To gain skills in the analysis and resolution of the main ethical dilemmas and legal problems of the current and future Public Health;
To recognize the ethical and legal problems in traditional and emerging Public Health issues v.g. communicable diseases, lifestyles (tobacco and alcohol) , patient safety, genetics and genomics, nanotechnology, personalized medicine and e-Health;



General characterization





Responsible teacher

Available soon


Weekly - Available soon

Total - 12

Teaching language



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- Faria, P.L., Cordeiro, J.V. - Public Health: current and emergent legal and ethical issues in a nutshell. In Knoppers and Joly (eds) Routledge Handbook of Medical Law and Ethics. Ed. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Ltd. 2014, IN PRESS, ISBN 9780415628181
- Faria, P.L. - Medical Law in Portugal, Ed. Kluwer Law International BV, The Netherlands, 2010, Download on, ISBN 978-90-411-3313-7
- Faria, P.L. (Ed.)- The Role of Health Law, Bioethics and Human Rights to Promote a Safer and Healthier World  – Ed. FLAD e ENSP-UNL, Lisboa, 2006,  ISBN 972-98811-4-6
- Wing, K.R. et al. - Public Health Law, Ed. LexisNexis, USA, 2007, ISBN 1-4224-0641-5
- Coker R and Martin R. - Introduction: the importance of law for public health policy and practice. Public Health. 2006 Oct;120 Suppl:2-7. Epub 2006 Sep 18.

Teaching method

The teaching methods are adapted to the nature of the various types of contents integrated in the program. In the case of contents 1 and 2 the teaching methodology will be primarily based on the oral presentation by the teacher/s. In the case of contents 3, 4 and 5 the teaching methodologies will be based on the expositions made by the students.
The evaluation will be based on the participation in the class (30%) and in an individual written essay (70%);


Evaluation method

Available soon

Subject matter

1. Definitions and distinction of concepts, Ethics and Law; Health Law and Public Health Law; Research Ethics, Bioethics and Biolaw.
2. Law and Ethics as Public Health allies, the application of ethical principles and values to research in health, health promotion and disease prevention; paradigm-cases.
3. Public health Law and Ethics traditional issues:
-  Transmissible diseases (health authorities and epidemiological  surveillance)
- Fundamental rights and lifestyles (tobacco and alcohol).
4. Public Health Law and Ethics emergent issues:
- Patient safety;
- Genomics (biobanks, genetic tests and gene therapy);
- Nanotechnology;
- Personalized medicine;
- e-Health.



Programs where the course is taught: