Kathleen Hoke, J.D., serves as Director, Eastern Region, a position she has held since the Network launched in 2010. She is also a law school professor and director of the Legal Resource Center for Public Health Policy at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law.

As director of the Network’s Eastern Region Office, Kathleen oversees work on a myriad of issues, including injury prevention; housing law and policy; regulation of cannabis, alcohol, and tobacco; food security; maternal and child health; and oral health. She brings her expertise on the sources and scope of state and local public health powers to work in examining recent changes in laws impacting public health authority that have been proposed and passed in response to public health agency action during the pandemic. She has also guided the Eastern Region’s work in supporting public health officials in understanding and seeking better laws to deter and penalize those who threaten public health officials. The work of the Eastern Region Office, and the Network as a whole, centers on health equity with a deep focus on law and policy that diminishes the detrimental impact of structural racism.

Kathleen was given the UMB President’s Award for Excellence in 2020 and in 2016 received the Jennifer Robbins Award for the Practice of Public Health Law by the American Public Health Association Law Section. Since 2020, Kathleen has served on the editorial board of the Centers for Disease and Control publication, Preventing Chronic Disease. She serves a variety of professional organizations and was appointed by Maryland’s Governor to the Maryland State Council on Cancer Control from 2018 to 2022.

After receiving her B.S. from Towson University, Kathleen graduated as a member of the Order of the Coif from the University of Maryland School of Law. She completed a clerkship with the Honorable Lawrence Rodowsky of the Maryland Court of Appeals and served with distinction as an Assistant Attorney General and Special Assistant to the Attorney General of Maryland prior to joining the University of Maryland Carey School of Law.

Articles & Resources

Renters Bill of Rights – Access to Safe, Quality, Accessible, and Affordable Housing and the Right to Organize

Law & Policy InsightsHealthy and Affordable HousingFood and Housing Insecurity Measures

February 21, 2023
by Kathleen Hoke

Maryland’s Abortion Care Access Act is the first of its kind in the U.S. The new law expands the scope of practice for certain health care providers to allow them to provide abortion care, aims to increase provider diversity through training programs, and improves affordability and equity by requiring insurance coverage for abortion care. Experience and evaluation will help determine whether it is effective at improving safe, convenient, and equitable access to abortion care in Maryland. If so, it could serve as a model for other states looking to increase access, improve patient outcomes, and reduce health inequities.

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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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Litigation as a Public Health Tool: A Modern-Day Public Health Story

Law & Policy InsightsMechanisms for Advancing Public HealthEnvironment, Climate and Health

August 10, 2022
by Kathleen Hoke

Litigation by and against the government and by and against product manufacturers can impact public health as significantly as legislation and funding. A recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit agreed with environmentalists, farmworkers, and food safety advocates in their joint lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to adequately consider whether glyphosate (a herbicide that kills grass and weeds) poses unreasonable risks to humans, endangered species, and the environment. Although the court did not issue an order prohibiting or limiting the use of glyphosate, the three-judge panel sent the issue back to the EPA for reconsideration.

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The FTC Could Help Curb the Youth Obesity Epidemic by Cracking Down on the Deceptive Advertising of Unhealthy Foods During Children’s Programming Hours

Issue BriefFood Safety and SecurityMechanisms for Advancing Health Equity

May 18, 2022
by Kathleen Hoke and Mathew Swinburne

This issue brief examines evidence of racial disparities with respect to COVID-19 infections and deaths, possible causes, and legal protections against race discrimination. It also provides an overview of CSC planning, including key ethical features that may be utilized to ensure that CSC planning incorporates concerns about racial inequity.

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The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act: Reasonable Accommodations to Keep Pregnant Workers Safely Employed

Law & Policy InsightsMaternal and Child HealthMechanisms for Advancing Health Equity

July 15, 2021
by Kathleen Hoke

Congress is poised to do something few of us expect of them—pass bi-partisan public health legislation: The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA). The PWFA is intended to “eliminate discrimination and promote women’s health and economic security by ensuring reasonable workplace accommodations for workers whose ability to perform the functions of a job are limited by pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.”

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Tobacco Control: A Decade of Challenges and Change

Law & Policy InsightsSubstance Use Prevention and Harm Reduction

February 10, 2021
by Kathleen Hoke

The first in a series of articles by Network attorneys on major public health law and policy developments over the past 10 years. In this article, Eastern Region Office Director Kathleen Hoke shares her insights into how laws designed to reduce the harm from tobacco use have changed, and the significant strides the public health community has made to reduce tobacco use initiation and increase tobacco cessation.

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Judicial Trends in Public Health 2020: Year in Review

WebinarsJudicial Trends in Public Health

January 19, 2021
by Brooke Torton, James G. Hodge, Jr., Jennifer Piatt, Kathleen Hoke, Kerri McGowan Lowrey, Leila Barraza, Mathew Swinburne and Sarah Wetter

Join Network attorneys as they highlight their top choices for pivotal, influential judicial decisions over the past year on topics including emergency legal preparedness, religious freedoms, reproductive rights, food insecurity, health justice, and the future of the ACA.

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Right to Counsel at Eviction Proceedings: Lawyers Keeping Families at Home

Law & Policy InsightsFood and Housing Insecurity MeasuresFood Safety and SecurityNeighborhood and Built Environment

October 21, 2020
by Kathleen Hoke

In the U.S., criminal defendants have the right to be represented by an attorney and states and jurisdictions must provide an attorney free of charge to defendants who cannot afford one. Advocates have sought the same right for citizens facing civil cases, including evictions. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought light to the eviction crisis, the critical need for housing stability, and the role that lawyers can play in protecting tenants from unlawful and abusive eviction.

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