Frequently Asked Questions

How do I request technical assistance?

It’s easy. You can contact the Network by e-mail or phone. See Ask a Question for more information. Please note that the Network is unable to provide technical assistance to anonymous individuals or organizations.

Do your services cost anything?

Most services are available at no cost to you. There may be a reasonable charge for some Network services in the future. Please contact the Network for more information.

Can individuals and organizations join the Network?

Any organization or individual committed to advancing public health and health equity is invited to join the Network. Members receive the bi-weekly Network Report, newsletter which includes articles on emerging issues in public health law and policy, along with information on Network resources and activities, including webinars and other Network-sponsored events.

I am interested in having someone speak on a public health law topic at a conference or other event. Who should I contact?

Please contact the Network at 952-452-9706. Depending on availability, you will be put in touch with the appropriate person for the speaking engagement.

I am interested in having someone train my organization on using public health law. Who should I contact?

Please contact the Network at 952-452-9706. Depending on availability, you will be put in touch with the appropriate person to assist you with training.

Does the Network represent people, organizations, state agencies, etc.?

No. While the Network provides technical assistance to individuals, groups, organizations or state agencies, the Network cannot provide legal representation to any individual or entity in any administrative or court proceeding.

Does the Network directly communicate with legislators or other policy-makers reflecting a position on specific public health legislation?

No. The Network does not directly communicate its positions on specific public health legislation. The Network strives to inform and improve public health; it does not “lobby.” However, technical legal assistance is available to legislators and others interested in developing and pursuing sound public health policy through the passage of statutes or ordinances or development of regulations. That assistance includes sharing relevant data and research, analyzing potential legal hurdles, providing expert testimony at legislative hearings and other supportive action.

Does your staff testify before U.S. Congress and/or state legislatures?

Yes. Network personnel are able to testify before federal and state legislatures on issues of public health if invited to speak on a relevant topic. Please contact the Network at 952-452-9706 or email us at info@networkforphl.org for more information.

I am a member of the press and would like to conduct an interview with a member of the Network. What is the process I should follow?

For media requests, please contact the Network at 952-452-9706 or email us at info@networkforphl.org to be put in touch with the appropriate person to interview.

What are public health laws?

Public health laws include all statutes and regulations that directly or indirectly promote, protect or improve the public’s health and safety. Public health laws help to create and govern public health agencies, as well as regulate private sector actors in the interests of the public’s health. Some public health laws clearly identify, prevent and reduce risks to health and safety, including laws that ban smoking in public places, protect our food supply and require the use of vaccines to prevent the spread of contagious diseases. Some laws often have unintentional impacts on public health and safety. For example, zoning laws that require sidewalks, parks and playgrounds in residential areas increase opportunities for physical activity, which may decrease the risks of obesity in a community.

What are the roles and responsibilities of public health lawyers?

Public health lawyers assist local, state, tribal and federal public health officials and their legal counsel, legislators, members of the judiciary, regulators and advocates in developing, interpreting, implementing and enforcing laws, regulations and policies that protect, promote and improve the public’s health and safety. Public health law academicians provide training and conduct research to support public health law. Public health lawyers also defend sound public health policies against legal or political challenges. Some public health departments have their own legal counsel. Others rely on city, county, tribal or state attorneys, or private counsels, to serve that role.

How is the Network funded?

The Network is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Additional funders can serve to help advance specific public health goals. Those interested in funding the Network should contact Sonia Krinke, Program Development Manager.