Donna E. Levin, J.D., serves as Project Director for the Network’s Act for Public Health — a partnership of public health law organizations that supports health departments and advocates navigating changes to governmental authority to advance healthier communities for all. In this role, Donna leads and coordinates work across the Network’s five Region Offices, as well as with collaborative partners.

Donna was national director of the Network from 2014 to 2022, where she oversaw organizational strategy and operations. Before joining the Network, Donna spent 26 years as general counsel at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, where she had oversight of Office of General Counsel and led her team in providing guidance on statutory and regulatory authority, the development of major policy initiatives of the Department, and legislation affecting public health.

Donna’s work has been in the areas of newborn screening; genetics and privacy laws; health insurance consumer protections; biotechnology; emergency public health response; public health aspects of health care and health care cost reform; and medical use of marijuana. She has authored numerous articles and presented on many of these topics.

Donna has been an adjunct professor of public health law at Suffolk University School of Law, and was a lecturer at the Harvard School of Public Health. She served as a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies’ Committee on Guidance for Establishing Standards of Care in Disaster Situations. Donna received her J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, and was a member of the Boston Bar Association’s Health Law Steering Committee.

Articles & Resources

Innovative Laws and Policies for a Post-Pandemic Public Health System

ReportPublic Health AuthorityCOVID-19Mechanisms for Advancing Public Health

June 20, 2023
by Darlene Huang Briggs, Donna Levin and Jill Krueger

The backlash in response to public health measures taken during the pandemic has resulted in many states passing laws restricting the ability of public health to take action to protect the health of their communities. However, there are many states that have taken innovative actions that strengthen public health authority and provide mechanisms that support a strong public health infrastructure.

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State Laws Limiting Public Health Protections: Hazardous for Our Health

ReportAct for Public HealthPublic Health AuthorityMechanisms for Advancing Public Health

November 2, 2022
by Donna Levin and Jill Krueger

This report, produced by the Network as part of the Act for Public Health initiative, examines laws impacting public health authority that have been passed as of May 20, 2022 and provides analysis of how they significantly weaken the collective ability of public health to respond effectively in future pandemics and other emergencies, and to carry out day-to-day public health activities.

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The Network for Public Health Law Announces Search for New National Director

Network News

June 24, 2022
by Donna Levin

The Network for Public Health Law (Network) is searching for a new National Director to provide strategic direction, lead organizational development, and oversee the work of its National Office and five Region Offices. The ideal candidate is an energetic hands-on leader with unquestionable integrity and high ethical standards, who is able to lead and inspire with an entrepreneurial mindset. The National Director must have exceptional ability to proactively engage and facilitate discussions with a broad range of stakeholders to champion the Network and its mission to provide visionary leadership in the use of law to protect, promote, and improve health and health equity. As the position is integral to ensuring organizational stability and growth, the National Director must have a strong track record in identifying and securing diverse sources of revenue, including philanthropic and government funding, as well as earned-income.

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Efforts to Rollback Public Health Authority: Tracking the Legislation and Assessing the Impact


June 9, 2022
by Donna Levin

Climate change is a public health threat that has already begun to erode the availability of safe and accessible housing, a critical social determinant of health. Climate-caused extreme weather events, like increased flooding are not experienced equally across all populations; rather, the primary harms are being disproportionately experienced by frontline communities of color and those living in low-income neighborhoods. Health equity requires identifying law and policy solutions that prioritize the needs of communities most vulnerable to climate harms and understanding the role that climate change plays in undermining housing security. Attend this webinar to learn about these topics, which will include a climate-focused lens as well as identifying law and policy approaches to housing affordability and availability. 

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Ensuring Changes in Emergency Powers and Public Health Authority Will Protect Health

WebinarsEmergency Legal Preparedness and ResponsePublic Health Authority

April 15, 2021
by Donna Levin, Jennifer Piatt and Jill Krueger

In this webinar, presenters will describe the nature of the laws being announced from the judicial bench or proposed in state legislatures, the process by which they are being formulated in every level and branch of government, and the principles that should guide legal developments as we seek to balance the facts, expert opinion, and civic participation, as well as guard against harmful unforeseen consequences.

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