Denise Chrysler, J.D., serves as director of the Network’s Mid-States Region Office. She also serves on her local board of health (Ingham County, Michigan), Michigan Governor’s Public Health Advisory Council, and the National Committee for Vital and Health Statistics, and co-chairs the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists’ Public Health Law Subcommittee.

Before joining the Network, for 27 years, Denise provided legal services to Michigan’s state health department regarding communicable disease, immunization, environmental public health, public health research, privacy, health information exchange, and emergency legal preparedness and response. She served as the state health department’s public health legal director, privacy officer, freedom of information coordinator, regulatory affairs officer, and member of the IRB. She also represented the health department as an assistant attorney general.

Denise is the recipient of the Roy J. Manty Distinguished Service Award for her contributions to public health in Michigan and the Frank J. Kelley Award for Excellence for successful efforts to protect mammograms and medical records of some 200,000 patients in Southeast Michigan that were abandoned by a bankrupt health care provider.

Denise graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 1980. She is admitted to practice before both state and federal courts in Michigan.

Articles & Resources

Summary of State Laws that Facilitate Data Sharing Among State Agencies

SummaryHealth Information and Data SharingMid-States Region

October 22, 2019
by Denise Chrysler and Sallie Milam

Data are essential for public health surveillance, epidemiological investigation, research, program development, implementation and evaluation. Sharing data across government agencies assists in addressing social determinants of health, environmental needs and risk factors; in better aligning services that support individuals; and in enhanced public health surveillance. Further, better information for health and human services agencies generally produces better care.

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Public Health Decision-Making Tool

ToolEmergency Legal Preparedness and Response

May 13, 2019
by Denise Chrysler

Health officials and boards of health have a duty to protect the public’s health. They have a great amount of discretion in how they fulfill this duty and must make difficult decisions around emerging threats that require balancing many factors, including the risk of acting prematurely based on limited information and the risk of delaying action until they have additional information to inform decision-making. A proper exercise of discretion involves consideration of facts known at the time, weighing options, and using professional judgment. This tool provides a checklist of key questions for public health decision-makers and practitioners to consider in making a decision whether to act or to wait based on information known at the time.

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Learning from the Flint Water Crisis – Protecting the Public’s Health During a Financial Emergency

ReportEmergency Legal Preparedness and ResponseEnvironment, Climate and HealthFlint Water Crisis Project

February 13, 2018
by Colleen Healy Boufides, Denise Chrysler, Jennifer Bernstein and Peter D. Jacobson

This report, co-authored by attorneys from the Network for Public Health Law and the University of Michigan School of Public Health, details why shortcomings in the structure and implementation of laws related to public health, safe drinking water, and emergency financial management failed to stop or mitigate the Flint water crisis. Along with key findings, the report provides recommendations to help prevent similar crises from happening in other communities.

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Emergency Manager Law Primer: Protecting the Public’s Health During Financial Emergencies – Lessons Learned from the Flint Water Crisis

PrimerEmergency Legal Preparedness and ResponseEnvironment, Climate and HealthFlint Water Crisis Project

February 13, 2018
by Colleen Healy Boufides, Denise Chrysler, Jennifer Bernstein and Peter D. Jacobson

This primer is intended to help policymakers and practitioners incorporate the lessons learned from the Flint Water Crisis to avert and/or mitigate future crises.

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Bed Bugs – They’re Still Here

Law & Policy Insights

January 29, 2018
by Colleen Healy Boufides and Denise Chrysler

A recent $3.5-million jury verdict awarded to residents of a bed-bug infested apartment complex in Los Angeles illuminates issues raised by many bed bug cases, including whether the burden to eliminate bedbugs should be placed on landlords or tenants; whether current state laws and local ordinances are effective in addressing bed bug issues and affording relief to victims; and whether these laws encourage productive behavior by landlords and tenants.

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Executive Decision Making and Liability for Public Health Officials

WebinarsPublic Health Agency, Structure, Organization and Accreditation

January 25, 2018
by Denise Chrysler

Public health officials have great discretion in carrying out their responsibilities to protect health. However, this discretion can be legally challenged by individuals, organizations, and government. This webinar, co-sponsored by the Network for Public Health Law and the Partnership for Public Health Law, will include a discussion of the discretionary authority public health officials have in carrying out their duties, situations where use of discretion may be legally challenged, and factors the law requires to show proof of an abuse of discretion.

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