Kerri McGowan Lowrey, J.D., M.P.H., is Deputy Director and Director for Grants & Research for the Network for Public Health Law, Eastern Region, based at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. Kerri has more than 20 years of experience as a public health lawyer. Her areas of focus have included injury prevention law, particularly sports and recreational injury prevention in children and adolescents; laws affecting return to school after traumatic brain injury; driver licensing laws and practices; health data privacy and sharing in the school setting; education as a social determinant of health; and housing instability. Kerri spearheaded the development of an interprofessional eviction prevention project with the University of Maryland School of Social Work, which seeks to provide legal triage and access to community support services for families facing housing instability due to the pandemic. She currently serves as co-chair of the Children’s Safety Now Alliance Steering Committee, an alliance of more than 35 organizations seeking to elevate child safety as a national priority and address the related needs of state and local health departments. Kerri’s specialized training includes a four-year term as a Cancer Prevention Fellow at the National Cancer Institute, where she assisted in developing the Cancer Prevention Fellowship Ethics Track. Prior to joining the Network for Public Health Law, Kerri served as Technical Vice President at the MayaTech Corporation in Silver Spring, MD, and Manager of its Center for Health Policy and Legislative Analysis. She received her J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law, an M.P.H. from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, and A.B. in public policy and American institutions from Brown University.

Articles & Resources

Rent Escrow as a Tool for Enforcing Tenants’ Rights

Fact SheetHealthy and Affordable HousingMechanisms for Advancing Public Health

January 9, 2023
by Kerri McGowan Lowrey

Housing and health are directly correlated––a stable, quality home is a basis for a healthy life. Housing quality includes the physical condition of the home, as well as the social and physical environment that surrounds it.1 Various aspects of housing quality can affect an individual’s health including air quality, home safety, space, and the presence of mold, asbestos, or lead.2 Poor quality housing is correlated with health problems, such as chronic diseases, injuries, and poor mental health.3 Unhealthy housing conditions are more common among renters. Although tenants have a right to live in a home that is suitable for human habitation, tenants often remain in substandard housing because they are unaware of their legal rights or how to enforce them.

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Proactive Rental Inspection as a Tool for Enforcing Tenants’ Rights

Fact SheetHealthy and Affordable HousingMechanisms for Advancing Public Health

January 9, 2023
by Kerri McGowan Lowrey

The quality of housing affects many aspects of health. Poor housing conditions can lead to infectious and chronic diseases, poor mental health, avoidable injuries, and long term physical and developmental problems for children. A significant portion of substandard housing is rented. Rental properties present many potential risks to residents, such as exposure to poor air quality, mold, asbestos, or lead. Studies show approximately 40% of diagnosed asthma among children can be attributed to exposure to substandard air quality in the home. Notably, research shows that children who live in rental properties are more likely to have asthma, with 21.5% of children in rented properties exposed to smoke in the home at least monthly. Many of these children also regularly experience musty smells, leaks, and evidence of roaches or rodents.

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When Is “Good Enough” Not Good Enough? Making Public Health Policy in Politically Contentious Times

Law & Policy InsightsMechanisms for Advancing Public Health

October 5, 2022
by Kerri McGowan Lowrey

As lawyers who care about public health, we hope for sound public health law and policy that is based on robust epidemiological evidence. But often the reality is a patchwork of provisions based on compromise, or no law at all. Compromise in public health lawmaking is often inevitable and even desirable in a democratic society. But is it ethically problematic to support a policy that the public believes is in place because it is protective when the evidence doesn’t support that conclusion? As public health lawyers, should we be satisfied that at least something is being done or remain firm in our support that only proven or effective policies should be passed?

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Youth Violence Prevention: Balancing Student Surveillance, Privacy and Equity

Law & Policy InsightsHealth in SchoolInjury Prevention and SafetyMechanisms for Advancing Public Health

February 9, 2021
by Kerri McGowan Lowrey

The desire to predict and prevent violence by young people is understandable and valid, particularly in the wake of school violence tragedies like Columbine, Parkland, and Sandy Hook. Just this week, a teenager made national news when he shot and killed his entire family. Communities do have a valid interest in identifying its members who are more likely to perpetrate violence, even when those perpetrators are children. However, that interest must be carefully balanced with the equally important competing interests of privacy and equity.

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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 R. 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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The CDC’s Eviction Moratorium Order Is Unprecedented: What Does It Mean for Tenants and Landlords?

Law & Policy InsightsFood and Housing Insecurity Measures

September 10, 2020
by Kerri McGowan Lowrey

Millions of Americans are at risk of losing their homes in the wake of the pandemic and renters are particularly vulnerable as they are less likely to have the resources to weather financial losses. On September 1, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an unprecedented Agency Order to temporarily halt residential evictions until December 31, 2020. While on its face, the Order is a “win” for public health, legal challenges on statutory and constitutional grounds are almost certain, and implementation will likely present difficulties.

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Combatting COVID-19 through Law and Policy: Social Distancing Only Works if People Can Stay at Home

Law & Policy InsightsCOVID-19Healthy and Affordable HousingSocial Distancing MeasuresSocial and Community Context

March 18, 2020
by Kerri McGowan Lowrey

Workers who are sick and one paycheck away from not being able to pay rent are more likely to go to work, potentially exposing others in their workplace and on public transportation to COVID-19. In response, just in the past week, several jurisdictions have taken innovative steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by instituting policies designed to ensure that people can stay in their homes.

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Data Privacy in School Nursing: Navigating the Complex Landscape of Data Privacy Laws (Part II)

Fact SheetHealth Information and Data SharingSchool NursesSchool Nursing

January 23, 2020
by Kerri McGowan Lowrey

This document is a follow-up to Data Privacy in School Nursing: Navigating the Complex Landscape of Data Privacy Laws (Part I), and will continue where that document left off by addressing additional specific questions from members of the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) related to data privacy and data sharing in school nursing. Please see Part I for a brief overview of HIPAA and FERPA as they relate to the practice of school nursing, as well as guidance on how to navigate the intersection of the two laws.

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