As co-director of the Network’s Mid-States Region Office, Colleen Healy Boufides, J.D., is responsible for overseeing development and expansion of the region’s state-specific and workforce development activities. She is particularly interested in legal issues relating to public health authority and decision-making; environmental health and justice; community health workers; and collaboration with medical-legal partnerships (MLP). Before joining the Network in 2016, Colleen provided policy and operational support to federally qualified health centers at the Michigan Primary Care Association. Prior to that, she worked as a litigation associate at a large Michigan-based law firm. Colleen received her law degree from the Duke University School of Law and her Bachelor of Science degree from Arizona State University – the Barrett Honors College. She is licensed to practice law in Michigan.

Articles & Resources

State Laws Banning Transgender Students’ Participation in Sports Harm Health and Wellbeing

Law & Policy InsightsMaternal and Child HealthEducationHealth in SchoolMental Health and Well-Being

April 19, 2023
by Colleen Healy Boufides

Laws banning or heavily restricting students who are transgender from playing on athletic teams with students of the same gender are increasing, as are challenges to such laws. Human rights advocates are closely watching as one case, B.P.J. v. West Virginia, proceeds through the courts. The case’s outcome may influence the course of similar legal challenges across the country.

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Network for Public Health Law Announces New Leadership at its Mid-States Region Office

Network News

March 9, 2023
by Carrie Waggoner and Colleen Healy Boufides

The Network is pleased to announce the appointments of Carrie Waggoner, J.D. and Colleen Healy Boufides, J.D. as the new Director and Co-Director of our Mid-States Region Office. They will jointly will lead the Mid-States team of law and policy experts in their ongoing work to support capacity building to public health departments and other entities to advance laws and policies that center equity, particularly in public health data sharing. Read the full announcement. 

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COVID-19 FAQs for Michigan Local Health Departments

FAQMichiganMid-States RegionPublic Health Advocacy and Decision-MakingPublic Health Authority

September 29, 2022
by Carrie Waggoner, Colleen Healy Boufides, Denise Chrysler, Jennifer Piatt, Kathleen Hoke, Peter D. Jacobson and Sallie Milam

In addressing questions regarding executive decision-making, we use the following general approach. Michigan’s Public Health Code grants public health officials considerable discretion to protect the public against communicable disease and environmental health threats. To exercise their broad grant of authority, the executive must ask three key questions: Can I? Must I? Should I?

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Legal Handbook for Establishing A Public Health Registry

HandbookEmergency Legal Preparedness and ResponseEnvironment, Climate and HealthFlint Water Crisis ProjectPublic Health Authority

June 24, 2022
by Colleen Healy Boufides, Denise Chrysler and Peter D. Jacobson

This handbook explores the Flint Registry team’s specific experiences and challenges navigating federal and Michigan data laws. Nevertheless, many aspects of the Flint Registry experience can be generalized to guide other entities seeking to establish public health registries.

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Establishing an Environmental Exposure Registry: Operational and Legal Lessons from the Flint Registry


June 15, 2022
by Colleen Healy Boufides, Denise Chrysler and Peter D. Jacobson

After thousands of Flint, Michigan, residents were exposed to lead during the 2014-15 Flint water crisis, the community came together to create the Flint Registry to monitor community health, connect people to services, and promote an understanding of how the water crisis affected the community. Establishing the Flint Registry required a team of community members and experts and involved myriad operational and legal issues. This webinar will examine the process involved in establishing and operating a community-based non-governmental environmental exposure registry. The presenters will share a legal handbook to guide other communities wishing to establish non-governmental public health registries.

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Despite being Crucial to Reducing Health Disparities, Culturally-Relevant Health Care Programs Remain Poorly Funded

Law & Policy InsightsHealth and Health CareHealth ReformMedicaidEast Side Health and Well-Being Collaborative

March 24, 2022
by Colleen Healy Boufides

Cultural Broker programs provide culturally relevant, community-based, accessible, preventive health care that is crucial to reducing health disparities and decreasing costs. However, legal frameworks and reimbursement models often fail to capture the essence of community-oriented preventive models of care.

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International Day of Persons with Disabilities: Law and Policy Developments Affecting the Disability Community

Law & Policy InsightsInjury Prevention and SafetyMechanisms for Advancing Health EquityMedicaidSubstance Use Prevention and Harm Reduction

December 2, 2021
by Amy Lieberman, Colleen Healy Boufides and Morgan Jones-Axtell

International Day of Persons with Disabilities is observed annually to promote awareness and support for the rights and wellbeing of people with disabilities. One in four adults in the United States have a disability, and solutions to advance accessibility, inclusion, and equity must account for the diversity of experiences among people with disabilities. To mark the occasion, Network attorneys highlight recent law and policy developments related to health equity, sexual orientation, and gender identity. 

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Back-to-School Legal Trends and Challenges Relating to COVID-19

Fact SheetCOVID-19EducationEmergency Legal Preparedness and ResponseHealth in School

September 8, 2021
by Colleen Healy Boufides, Jennifer Piatt and Leila Barraza

This fact sheet offers a broad-level overview of issues associated with the return to in-person learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also serves as a starting point and initial resource for individuals seeking information on what actions can be taken to protect K–12 students, as well as school faculty and staff, from COVID-19 in a school setting.v

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Childhood Blood Lead Testing Rates Dropped Drastically During 2020: We Need to Sound the Alarm

Law & Policy InsightsInjury Prevention and Safety

August 10, 2021
by Colleen Healy Boufides

Testing rates for blood lead levels (BLLs) in children were alarmingly low before the pandemic and the rates have only decreased since. This is of particular concern given the possibility of increased lead exposure among children due to significantly reduced lead inspections and remediation efforts as a result of the pandemic, along with the increased time children are spending at home. Part of the ongoing recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic must include a focus on reconnecting kids with the screening, services, and care needed to detect and mitigate lead poisoning’s lifelong consequences.

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