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 on Vital and Health Statistics.

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 grew up on a dairy farm in northern Indiana. She graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 1980. She and her husband, Paul Pratt, live in Lansing, Michigan. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they adopted two kittens and named them “Pfizer” and “Moderna.”

Articles & Resources

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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Q&A: Executive Decision Making for COVID-19: Public Health Science through a Political Lens

Law & Policy InsightsPublic Health Advocacy and Decision-Making

October 21, 2020
by Denise Chrysler and Peter D. Jacobson

In this Q&A, Denise Chrysler, director and Peter Jacobson, co-director, of the Network’s Mid-States Region Office, discuss some of the key elements in the chapter they co-authored, Executive Decision Making for COVID-19: Public Health Science through a Political Lens, for the Report.

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Legal Requirements and Tools for Sharing Data with Police Departments to Prevent and Respond to Opioid Overdoses

Fact SheetFederal Privacy LawsSubstance Use Prevention and Harm Reduction

August 21, 2020
by Denise Chrysler and Sallie Milam

Some police departments in Michigan participate in the Families Against Narcotics Comeback Quick Response Team (FAN COMEBACK QRT). The purpose of this initiative is to collaborate across the community to prevent and respond to opioid overdoses. Partners include police departments, substance use treatment providers, recovery services, peer support services and community support services.

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Michigan Laws Related to Right of a Minor to Obtain Health Care without Consent or Knowledge of Parents

Issue BriefHealth Information and Data SharingMichigan

May 29, 2020
by Denise Chrysler

This document summarizes the rights of minors to consent to various types of health care without the consent or knowledge of their parents. It also covers whether the law permits information concerning the minor’s health care to be shared with the parent. Though the details of this document apply only in Michigan, the legal provisions likely have counterparts in other states. Lawyers in other states may have developed, or could develop, comparable summaries for their states. You may wish to talk with your attorney, or visit the Public Health Lawyer Directory to find a public health attorney in your state.

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