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The Intersections of Law and Healthcare

June 16, 2023

Alumni, students, and faculty at the University of Pennsylvania Care Law School discuss how the JD/MBE (Bioethics) joint degree advances a range of careers sitting at the intersection of law and medicine.

Why did you choose the JD/MBE (Bioethics) joint degree program?

Sydney Acquaye L’23, MBE’23: I decided to do the JD/MBE program because I had worked in health care tech prior to coming to law school. I found it really interesting, and that it also happened to coincide with the pandemic, which has definitely been very crazy in the health care world. So, I knew that when I was coming to law school I wanted to focus on health care, not just from a legal standpoint, but from an interdisciplinary standpoint since I knew that I wanted to work with health care providers and potentially also patients.

How has your experience at the Perelman School of Medicine supplemented your experience at Penn Carey Law?

Katie Cohen L’24, MBE’24: Going into the JD/MBE program, I kind of thought it might just be an escape from the Law School, kind of an opportunity to take a breath of fresh air. And it is in some ways, but it’s also provided really interesting context for some of the classes that I’ve taken here. So, for instance, in my one-hour constitutional law class, we read Glucksburg, which is an important case for understanding the fundamental rights doctrine. We read the same case in my intro bioethics class over at the Perelman School of Medicine but looked at it with a very different eye to understand how the dialogue around physician assisted suicide has evolved and how that case really impacted that dialogue in the bioethics community.

What was on of the most meaningful courses you took at Penn Carey Law?

Chisom Nwakama L’24, MBE’24: So, this semester I’m in a seminar called “Drug Prices, Patents, and Politics,” with Sharswood Fellow Laura Dolbow, and I really love this class because this is a specific work I want to do. So, we’re focused on mainly patents within the pharmaceutical space. We’re looking at why drug prices are high. I really appreciate this because this is the work I want to do, and it’s really providing me a background for my future career.

What are the benefits of joint degree programs at Penn Carey Law?

Holly Fernandez Lynch C’03, L’06, MBE’06: I think the benefits of pursuing a joint degree when you are a law student are many, right? You get access to other faculty around Penn’s campus. One of the benefits of being here at Penn is that we have this unified campus, and you can get over to the medical school in 10 minutes, you can get to the business school in 5 minutes. We have this really nicely designed to campus. So, it’s great to take advantage of that. But beyond the geographic proximity, as a law student you’re exposed to a particular way of thinking about the world, but law shapes all of these different areas. So, you’re learning from faculty at the medical school how health care law might impact that, and you’re learning from faculty at the business school about how law intersects with that community. So, it really helps contextualize what you’re learning in this space to see it in other professional and social settings.