Policy Practicum: The Law and Practice of Changing Mindsets to Build Cultures of Health


Course Code:
LAW 414S
Law Honors/Pass/Restrd Cr/Fail


Stanford Social Psychological Answers to Real-world Questions (SPARQ) is a "do tank" in the Department of Psychology that partners with organizations to solve real-world problems by applying social science. With a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, SPARQ is developing techniques to improve people's health by changing mindsets in culturally appropriate ways. The project, Changing Mindsets to Build Cultures of Health, targets the mindsets not only of patients, but also of healthcare practitioners. For example, one study examines how changing practitioners' mindsets affects their online communications with patients and, in turn, patients' behaviors and health. Working closely with SPARQ as a client, the practicum investigates legal issues in changing doctor and patient mindsets. For example, can patients consent to knowing more or less about their doctors' expectations? How much can doctors' curate their findings and opinions for the sake of their patients? (How might a patient consent, for instance, to being given a placebo when detailed knowledge that it is a placebo destroys the placebo effect?) With the advent of electronic medical records (EMR), how much information are healthcare practitioners legally required to share with their patients and should they push to share as much as they are permitted to in all circumstances? Practicum participants will work on a multidisciplinary team with SPARQ faculty, grad students, and staff to develop a memo analyzing relevant legal questions and precedents and may also advise the design of behavioral experiments. Students will receive 3 credits for this one-quarter "R" class. NOTE: Students may not count more than a combined total of eight units of directed research projects and policy lab practica toward graduation unless the additional counted units are approved in advance by the Petitions Committee. Such approval will be granted only for good cause shown. Even in the case of a successful petition for additional units, a student cannot receive a letter grade for more than eight units of independent research (Policy Lab practicum, Directed Research, Senior Thesis, and/or Research Track). Any units taken in excess of eight will be graded on a mandatory pass basis. For detailed information, see "Directed Research/Policy Labs" in the SLS Student Handbook. CONSENT APPLICATION : To apply for this course, students must complete and e-mail the Consent Application Form available on the SLS Registrar's Office website (see Registration and Selection of Classes for Stanford Law Students) to the instructors. See Consent Application Form for submission deadline. Elements used in grading: Class Participation, Attendance, Written Assignments, Final Paper.

Past Offerings

2015-2016 Autumn

Policy Practicum: The Law and Practice of Changing Mindsets to Build Cultures of Health LAW 414S Section 01 Class #28909

  • 3 Units
  • Enrollment Limitations: Consent 3

Notes: Law Unit Limitation. R -Research Requirement for Law Degree.

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