Hirsh Health Law and Policy Program

Housed within the Milken Institute School of Public Health's Department of Health Policy and Management, The Hirsh Health Law and Policy Program offers unique educational opportunities to law students and practicing lawyers alike. Established in 1997 and endowed by Harold and Jane Hirsh, the Hirsh Program fosters an interdisciplinary approach to the study of health law, health policy, health care, and public health. With consideration of Health Policy's evolving role, the program's overall goal is to advance a greater understanding regarding how the law influences and shapes all phases of health care and public health, as well as how the changing system affects traditional areas of the law. At the same time, the program seeks to achieve the pragmatic objectives of readying law degree candidates and practicing lawyers for the broad range of health law-related careers available today.

Academic Programs in Health Law and Policy

Through the Hirsh Program GW law students can combine their JD or LLM with a Master in Public Health (MPH) or a graduate certificate in a public health field. Practicing lawyers may choose to take individual courses in public health and health services, or to complete a graduate certificate or Master’s of Public Health to acquire special competency in health law and policy.  Students concentrate their work in one of several focus areas:

Health Policy: Concentration for students interested in careers in government, such as Congressional committee staff, agency staff, or positions in the General Counsel divisions of federal or state agencies. Students seeking jobs in law firms that engage in extensive Washington, D.C.-based representation would also benefit from this concentration.

Environmental and Occupational Health: Concentration for students who intend to be active in any or all of the broad areas of environmental litigation, regulatory policy, product liability, or labor law—including occupational health and safety, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and workers' compensation—and the application of scientific evidence to tort litigation, adjudication, or regulatory policy.

Epidemiology/Biostatistics: Track for students interested in public health regulation, food and drug law, biotechnology law, and other areas of law closely associated with the sciences and data analysis.

Global Health: Track for students interested in specializing in international law with an emphasis on health care, health services development, international health markets, or human rights.

Health Services Management: Concentration for students wishing to pursue positions that entail the representation or regulation of health care providers, health care institutions, and health care corporations.

Other: Public health degrees and graduate certificates may also may be obtained in health promotion-disease prevention and maternal and child health.

Hirsh Program Faculty

The Director of the Hirsh Health Law and Policy Program is Joel Teitelbaum, JD, LLM.  Through the Hirsh Program, law and other students have the opportunity to study not only with the large number of full-time law and policy faculty who teach in the program and the Department of Health Policy (DHP), but also with other Milken Institute School of Public Health faculty who are nationally recognized as leading policy analysts and researchers in their respective fields.

Hirsh Program, DHP, and Milken Institute School of Public Health law and policy full-time faculty have distinguished careers in all phases of health law and policy, including public and private health insurance; national health reform; health disparities and minority health; health care access and the safety net; HIV/AIDS; mental illness and addiction; health quality; public health; and more.  In addition, the law and policy faculty include numerous adjuncts drawn from Washington, D.C.'s uniquely talented pool of legal experts, policy analysts, and researchers.  Indeed, the adjunct faculty offer Hirsh Program students not only a rich teaching experience, but also extraordinary career development opportunities.


Admission to the Hirsh Health Law and Policy Program

Students who wish to apply to one of the joint law-public health degree programs must apply separately to both the Law School and the Milken Institute School of Public Health. Students may apply for admission to the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the time they apply to the Law School or anytime after they have been admitted to the Law School. Students in good standing in the Law School are generally eligible for admission to the Milken Institute School of Public Health degree and graduate certificate programs. Candidates must remain in good standing in the Law School throughout their course of study in accordance with Law School requirements to continue in a joint degree program. There are no specialized criteria for admission for lawyers applying to the Milken Institute School of Public Health, and substantial weight is given to the fact that applicants have previously completed a juris doctor degree.

JD and LLM Candidates
Students who wish to apply to a joint degree program must apply separately to both the Law School and the Milken Institute School of Public Health. JD candidates who do not apply concurrently to the Law School and the Milken Institute School of Public Health are encouraged to file the Milken Institute School of Public Health application by the middle of the spring semester of their first year of law school. LLM candidates are encouraged to apply to the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the time they apply to the Law School or during their first semester.

Practicing Lawyers
Application procedures are simplified for lawyers who wish to apply to the Milken Institute School of Public Health. Lawyers must complete an application form but are not required to submit standardized test scores. For lawyers applying to the Graduate Certificate program, references are not required and transcripts are required only from the applicant’s law school.

Program Costs
Milken Institute School of Public Healthcoursework taken while enrolled as a full- or part-time JD or LLM candidate is charged at the Law School tuition rate during the fall and spring semesters. The regular Milken Institute School of Public Health tuition and fees are charged for summer coursework and for coursework taken by lawyers. For more information, contact the Milken Institute School of Public Health Office of Admissions.


Applications may be requested from:

Milken Institute School of Public Health Office of Admissions
950 New Hampshire Ave, NW
2nd Floor
Washington, DC 20052
Phone 202.994.2160
Fax 202.994.1850

To request an application to the Law School, contact:

JD Admissions
Office of Admissions
The George Washington University Law School
Washington, DC 20052
Phone: 202-994-7230
E-mail: jdadmit@law.gwu.edu

LLM Admissions
Graduate Programs Office
The George Washington University Law School
Washington, DC 20052
Phone: 202-994-0715
E-mail: grad@law.gwu.edu

Hirsh Program Alumni

The Hirsh Program maintains an active alumni group of lawyers and health professionals practicing in the D.C. area and throughout the country. Alumni of the Hirsh Program routinely accept positions at leading law firms, federal and state agencies, consulting firms, and universities in D.C. and other cities. The breadth of placements regularly attained by graduates in both the public and private sector illustrates the opportunities afforded under the program. Once in their chosen field of practice, alumni of the program recognize that their joint studies in law, policy, and public health are an invaluable asset on the job. Alumni in the practice of health law, on the one hand, report that their training in the Milken Institute School of Public Health enables them to understand the myriad aspects of the health care system, including its structure, financing, and terminology. On the other hand, Hirsh Program alumni who spend their days as health professionals indicate that their training in the law earns them added respect from their employers and added credibility from the health care providers, agencies, and companies with which they interact.

About the Benefactors

A pioneer of law and medicine, Dr. Harold Hirsh, along with his wife Jane, endowed the Hirsh Health Law and Policy Program in 1997 as part of the Milken Institute School of Public Health. The aim of the program is to foster an in-depth understanding of health law and its influence on health policy and public health and health care practice. In addition to the Hirsh Health Law and Policy Program, the Hirshes endowed grand rounds lecture series at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences and several area hospitals and were benefactors of the Hirsh Health Center, an outpatient geriatric medical center at the Hebrew Home in Rockville, Maryland.

About Harold and Jane Hirsh

Harold Hirsh was a physician, lawyer, and professor, and had an enormously influential professional career. A Washington native, Harold graduated with honors in 1942 from Georgetown University Medical School and spent the next 30 years practicing internal medicine and teaching clinical medicine at Howard University's medical and dental schools. After three decades as an infectious disease specialist, he grew weary of what he viewed as the increasing "industrialization" of medicine and entered law school at American University, from which he graduated with honors. He then embarked on an equally long career teaching medical ethics and medical law courses at American University, GW, and other local educational institutions.

Harold Hirsh was regarded as one of the "grandfathers" of the law and medicine movement. He published hundreds of articles in medical, legal, and scientific journals and authored or co-authored 15 books. He was the editor of several journals and served on the boards of various medico-legal organizations. Harold also held professorial rank at several local universities, including Distinguished Visiting Professor at GW.

Jane Hirsh was hugely instrumental in both Harold's career and their philanthropic pursuits. She worked to help support Dr. Hirsh through medical school and helped manage his medical practice. She shared Harold's vision of a health law and policy program and was his partner in efforts to improve community-based care for the elderly.

Dr. and Mrs. Hirsh were married for 70 years. Both died in 2009, survived by a large and loving family, perhaps their most important achievement.


Serving Juris Doctor (JD) and Master of Laws (LLM) candidates, as well as practicing lawyers pursuing health law careers, the program is designed to provide a solid grounding in health, ranging from the study of the health system itself to extensive advanced coursework in health law and policy.

Legal studies offered both within the Milken Institute School of Public Health and The George Washington University Law School span the major issues in health law. Through its affiliation with the Department of Health Policy and Management, the Hirsh Program engages in extensive law-related health policy research, making Hirsh Program students eligible to be considered for paid and for-credit research assistantships throughout their period of study.

Through its location in the Milken Institute School of Public Health, the Hirsh Program allows law degree candidates and practicing lawyers to place their health law studies into a broader health systems context, through courses in health policy, health services management, environmental and occupational health, international health, community and preventive medicine, and epidemiology and public health.

Nation's Capital Offers Students Unique Possibilities

Situated in Washington, D.C., the Hirsh Program is structured to allow students to take maximum advantage of its location at the center of national health law and policy-making. The program offers extensive assistance with career development and works with students on landing internships in Congressional offices, federal agencies, and the hundreds of national health organizations located in and throughout the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.

Student Support and Career Placement Assistance

A hallmark of the Hirsh Program is its one-on-one student support and career placement assistance. All entering students, whether law candidates or practicing lawyers, establish individual course and career counseling relationships with program faculty.



Hirsh Health Law and Policy Program
950 New Hampshire Ave. NW
6th Floor
Department of Health Policy and Management
Milken Institute School of Public Health
The George Washington University
Washington, DC 20052

Phone: (202) 994-4233
Fax: (202) 994-3504
Email: joelt@gwu.edu

Director: Joel Teitelbaum, JD, LLM