90166 - Public Health And Law

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Good health and well-being Quality education

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

Law is an important tool for improving the public’s health. At the end of this course students will learn about the government’s authority to address public health issues. Right to health is protected/guaranteed by public authorities and legal institutions both at the national and EU level. We will start by focusing on Italy where national health service is statutorily required to guarantee the uniform provision of comprehensive care throughout the country. However, this is complicated by the fact that responsibility for healthcare is shared between the central and local governments. This leads to large and growing differences in regional health service organisation and provision. In the second part of the course we will discuss how EU policies influence the legislation of Member States and how they protect community health. Particular attention will be given to the role of European agencies (such as EMA and EFSA), as agencies that aim to protect the health of European citizens by monitoring health-related areas.

Course contents

Introduction: Italian constitution – principles – Right to health.

National health service.

National agencies.

European Union level: principles – Treaty on European Union and Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

European Union agencies.

Relates topic: health – food; health – environment.

Last lectures will be dedicated to the student presentations.


At the end of the lessons contact the Professor for the updated list of materials useful for preparing the exam


OECD Health at a glance: Europe


OECD State of Health in the EU - Italy: Country Health Profile 2019

State of health in the EU:

COM 2018 233 (Digital transformation of health and care in the Digital Single Market; empowering citizens and building a healthier society);

COM 2012 736 (eHealth Action Plan 2012-2020 - Innovative healthcare for the 21st century)


1. A. Fioritti, Is freedom (still) therapy? The 40th anniversary of the Italian mental health care reform, Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences (2018), 27, 319–323. doi:10.1017/S2045796017000671.

2. Marcadelli S., Stievano A., Rocco G. (2019), Policy proposals for a new welfare: the development of the family and community nurse in Italy as the key to promote social capital and social innovation. Primary Health Care Research & Development 20(e109): 1–8. doi: 10.1017/S146342361800083X.

3. S. Nuti, C. Seghieri, Is variation management included in regional health care governance systems? Some proposals from Italy, Health Policy 114 (2014) 71– 78.


1. Amanda K. Hall, Jay M. Bernhardt, Virginia Dodd and Morgan W. Vollrath, The Digital Health Divide: Evaluating Online Health Information Access and Use Among Older Adults, in Health Education & Behavior, Vol. 42, No. 2 (April 2015), pp. 202-209.

2. Sarah Wallcook and Karen Morris, Supporting Digital Health and Digital Inclusion. The Journal of Corporate Citizenship , No. 68, Special Issue: Leading Wellbeing in Rural Contexts (December 2017), pp. 82-94.


1. Wieke Willemijn Huizing Edinger, Food Health Law: A Legal Perspective on EU Competence to Regulate the 'Healthiness' of Food, European Food and Feed Law Review, Vol. 9, No. 1 (2014), pp. 11-19.

2. Sukhada Khedkar, The EU health claims regulation: implications for innovation in the EU food sector, British Food Journal, Vol. 118 No. 11, 201

6, pp. 2647-2665.


1. Zofia Wysokinska, The “New” Environmental Policy Of The European Union: A Path To Development Of A Circular Economy And Mitigation Of The Negative Effects Of Climate Change, 2016, Comparative Economic Research, Volume 19, Number 2, 2016.

2. Daniel Badulescu , Ramona Simut , Alina Badulescu and Andrei-Vlad Badulescu, The Relative effects of Economic Growth, Environmental Pollution and Non-Communicable Diseases on Health Expenditures in European Union Countries, 2019, International journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 2019, 16, 5115; doi:10.3390/ijerph16245115.


1. Mark J. Nieuwenhuijsen; Urban and transport planning, environmental exposures and health-new concepts, methods and tools to improve health in cities. Environmental Health, 2016, 15.

2. Agusti Solanas, et… , Smart Health: A Context-Aware Health Paradigm within Smart Cities. IEEE Communications Magazine, August 2014.

Teaching methods

The course will be taught using a wide variety of formats, including lectures, seminars, classroom discussions, and students presentations.

Assessment methods

Oral Exam

The final grade will be based upon:

70% final exam

30% class participation

Evaluation criteria:

18-23: the student has sufficient preparation and analytical skills, spread however, over just few topics taught in the course, the overall jargon is correct

24-27: the student shows and adequate preparation at a technical level with some doubts over the topics. Good, yet not to articulate analytical skills with the use of a correct jargon

28-30: Great knowledge about most of the topics taught in the course, good critical and analytical skills, good usage of the specific jargon

30L: excellent and in depth knowledge of all the topics in the course, excellent critical and analytical skills, excellent usage of specific jargon.

Teaching tools

Power point presentations.

Office hours

See the website of Beatrice Bertarini