McGeorge School of Law

Bioterrorism & National Security

A message from Professor Jacobs

I am leading the McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific's Bioterrorism, National Security and Public Health Law Initiative. One goal is to encourage introduction of bioterrorism and public health law issues into the law school curriculum. With a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, McGeorge conducted a workshop of public health and legal experts from around the country and designed model syllabi for a course in Bioterrorism and Public Health Law.

Because not everyone can offer a full course, I have prepared a four-class module of teaching materials titled Bioterrorism, Infectious Diseases and Constitutional Rights. I am a constitutional law professor, and used these materials at the end of my constitutional law course this spring to show the students how public health emergencies such as the current SARS epidemic and threat of bioterrorism raise a host of fascinating constitutional issues. Specifically, the materials cover the due process and equal protection implications of quarantine, the due process and religion clause implications of mandatory vaccination and the free speech implications of restricting dissemination of scientific information to protect against the bioterrorism threat.

I write to invite you to use some or all of these materials in one of your courses this year. I can send a hard copy at your request. I would also be happy to send my outline of issues and questions for teaching the materials if you decide that you would like to use them. Please email your request to Leslie Jacobs.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Leslie Gielow Jacobs

Model Syllabus

In March, 2003, McGeorge hosted a workshop concerning a course in Bioterrorism and Public Health Law.

During the workshop, the participants were divided into groups and each group developed a model syllabus. The model syllabi that were developed had many common topics. We also developed three Problem Groups that can be used in class.


The workshop was held on March 20 and 21, 2003 at McGeorge School of Law. The event was made possible through a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and with the support and assistance of the Sierra Health Foundation.

The workshop was the first project in a long-term initiative being undertaken by the McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific to identify and address issues that arise from bioterrorism, national security and public health law. The March 2003 expert workshop was directed at encouraging and facilitating teaching and scholarship in the nation's law schools related to bioterrorism and public health. Later projects will address these subjects in a way directed to educate and serve the needs of other segments of the community, such as government policy makers, first responders and the public at large. We hope that workshop participants will look forward not only to collaborating at the workshop, but also to remaining involved in the long-term project of stimulating interest in, and addressing issues that arise from, these subjects.

The specific goal of the workshop was to create a model syllabus for a two (2)- to three (3)-unit course in Bioterrorism and Public Health Law. The model syllabi is available as a resource to anyone, and specifically to professors interested in teaching the subjects of bioterrorism and public health law in the nation's law schools or elsewhere. The model syllabi is composed of discrete units, so that even without making the commitment to teach an entire course, interested professors can adapt the bioterrorism and public health law materials to incorporate into other courses, such as constitutional law, criminal law or torts, which form a regular part of the established law school curriculum. The model syllabi will contain not only a topic outline, but more specific cases, statutes, news articles and other readings, as well as teaching problems, to be developed as part of the workshop. The syllabi, in addition to including a wide range of topic areas, will include the variety of different perspectives within different topic areas that are necessary to understand and address the legal issues. Although aimed at the law school curriculum, it is to be hoped that the syllabus created from the workshop will serve as a resource to professors and teachers in other types of professional schools, such as medicine and public health, and in colleges and universities as well.