Colleen Healy Boufides, J.D., is a deputy director with the Network’s Mid-States Region Office. Her current work focuses on public health legal authority and decision-making; collaboration between medical-legal partnerships (MLP) and public health, particularly as it facilitates translating individual legal challenges into population-level legal interventions; laws supporting the community health worker profession; and legal issues relating to environmental health and climate change. Prior to joining the Network, Colleen worked at the Michigan Primary Care Association where she focused on policy and operational issues affecting Michigan’s federally qualified health centers. Before that, she worked as a commercial litigation associate for a large Michigan-based law firm and supported local nonprofit organizations as a board member and by providing pro bono legal assistance.

In 2019, Colleen was included in the de Beaumont Foundation’s list of 40 under 40 in Public Health and she received the American Public Health Association Law Section’s Early Career Award for Excellence in Public Health Law. 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, where she studied psychology and global health. Colleen is a member of the state bar of Michigan.

Articles & Resources

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

View page

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.

Read more

COVID-19 FAQs for Michigan Local Health Departments

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

June 15, 2021
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?

View page

Women’s History Month: Network Attorneys Discuss Law and Policy Solutions to Promote Women’s Health & Wellbeing

Law & Policy InsightsMaternal and Child HealthMechanisms for Advancing Health EquityMedicaidMental Health and Well-Being

March 24, 2021
by April Shaw, Carrie Waggoner, Colleen Healy Boufides, Dawn Hunter, Jill Krueger and Leila Barraza

In honor of Women's History Month, women in the Network’s Health Equity Working Group have highlighted legal or policy issues affecting women’s health that they see as critically important. The topics addressed cover: economic stability and well-being, pregnancy discrimination, period poverty, and maternal depression. The law and policy solutions discussed here have the potential to improve life for women and girls for generations to come.

Read more

State Legal Authority to Investigate the Spread of Communicable Disease

GuidanceEmergency Legal Preparedness and ResponseEmergency ResponseHealth Data Sharing and Privacy

May 5, 2020
by Colleen Healy Boufides

Many states grant broad legal authority to local health departments to investigate the causes and spread of communicable diseases. These powers are often contained in the state’s public health code and communicable disease rules. This guidance provide information on which provisions of state law a local health department can cite to compel sharing of information needed for a communicable disease investigation.

View page

Disclosure of COVID-19 Information by Domestic Violence Agencies or Shelters

Legal Technical Assistance HighlightsCOVID-19Health Data Sharing and PrivacyDomestic ViolenceSocial and Community Context

April 8, 2020
by Colleen Healy Boufides

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised numerous questions with regard to public health reporting requirements. This guidance addresses whether domestic violence agencies or shelters have an obligation to report cases of COVID-19 to a state or local public health department.

Read more