In his role as Deputy Director, Mid-States Region, Stephen Murphy, J.D., focuses on public health data access and data sharing. Prior to coming to the Network, Stephen was an attorney for the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) concentrating on public health data privacy and public health law. During his time at CDPH, Stephen was the City of Chicago HIPAA Privacy Officer and served on the department’s institutional review board.

Stephen has a law degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in economics and Spanish from University College Dublin, Ireland. Following law school, Stephen completed a judicial clerkship at the Circuit Court of Illinois, Cook County Circuit. He is licensed to practice law in California and Illinois and is a native of Ireland.

Articles & Resources

Final HIPAA Rule on Reproductive Health Care Privacy: Impacts for Public Health

WebinarsReproductive Health and Equity HIPAA Facts & FictionHealth Information and Data Sharing

May 1, 2024
by Charles Curran, Joanna S. Suder, Stephen Murphy and Susan Fleurant

The newly issued Biden Administration HIPAA Final Rule seeks to strengthen privacy protections under HIPAA for protected health information potentially related to reproductive health care. Join Network attorneys as they discuss key provisions, potential implementation challenges and what this means for public health, including how the rule may affect data transfers for public health purposes.

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­Common Themes and Creative Solutions to Protect Privacy of Reproductive Health Data

Fact SheetReproductive Health and Equity Health Information and Data Sharing

March 7, 2024
by Stephen Murphy

The Network has identified at least eleven states and the District of Columbia (D.C.) that have now passed laws that seek to keep health data relating to abortion out of the hands of those that would seek to use them against patients and their providers merely for seeking, receiving, or providing reproductive health care. This factsheet explores common themes and creative solutions in state and District of Columbia laws aimed at protecting the privacy of reproductive health records.

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­Improving Local Public Health Access to Public Health Data: Illinois Out in Front

Fact SheetHealth Information and Data Sharing

January 25, 2024
by Stephen Murphy

Access to timely data is essential for local health departments to provide critical public health interventions. Unfortunately, public health data is typically routed to state agencies where legal barriers, both actual and perceived, to sharing that data back to local health departments are encountered. The Illinois legislature recently passed sweeping legislation regarding access to public health data by local health departments. This fact sheet examines this new legislation and how it may transform local public health access to key data.

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­United We Stand: How Some States Are Protecting Access to Gender Affirming Care and Abortion in a Single Legislative Act

Fact SheetReproductive Health and Equity 

January 4, 2024
by Stephen Murphy

By one estimate, thirty-five percent of transgender youth find themselves in a state with laws banning gender affirming care. However, the Network has identified at least thirteen laws across ten states and the District of Columbia that seek to protect access to gender-affirming care as well as reproductive health care in the same act. This factsheet takes a closer look at legislation that couples transgender rights with reproductive rights.

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Reproductive Health Care, Litigation, Privacy and Public Health

WebinarsReproductive Health and Equity Maternal and Child Health

November 30, 2023
by Joanna S. Suder, Kathleen Hoke and Stephen Murphy

The Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization eviscerated 50 years of precedent and constitutional rights to abortion. States have since adopted widely divergent reproductive health care access policies, illustrating serious legal questions remaining post-Roe. Attend this webinar for the latest information on litigation in state courts regarding reproductive health care access through state constitutions and statutes; an update on how states are protecting reproductive health records through data privacy laws; and how local health departments are serving their communities in the post-Roe landscape.

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Office for Civil Rights and Federal Trade Commission Renew Warnings of Online Tracking and Health Information

Law & Policy InsightsHealth Information and Data SharingHealth Data Sharing and Privacy

November 2, 2023
by Stephen Murphy

The OCR and FTC have issued renewed warnings regarding the dangers of online tracking technologies and the harm they can pose to the privacy of an individual’s health information. OCR and FTC warn that tracking technologies collect identifiable information, mostly unbeknownst to users, and can lead to violations of three federal laws by regulated entities.

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Office for Civil Rights Announces Proposed Modifications to HIPAA to Protect Reproductive Health Data

Law & Policy InsightsHealth Information and Data SharingReproductive Health and Equity 

May 24, 2023
by Stephen Murphy

A notice of proposed changes to the HIPAA Privacy Rule was recently issued to bolster the privacy of protected health information (PHI) relating to reproductive health care. The proposed changes are the latest in a series of steps by the Biden administration addressing privacy of reproductive health information following the Supreme Court's Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision last summer. This post takes a closer look at the proposed changes to HIPAA.

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Federal, State and Local Efforts to Protect the Privacy of Abortion Health Records

Fact SheetReproductive Health and Equity Health and Health CareHealth Information and Data Sharing

May 3, 2023
by Stephen Murphy

In the aftermath of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, one abortion case involving a 10-year-old rape victim called into question issues of privacy when the attorney general in the case sought access to the minor’s abortion records. The case illustrates how, in the legal tug of war over abortion, health information may be weaponized against providers and individuals seeking or obtaining reproductive health services. This fact sheet explores actions taken at all levels of government to enhance protections of abortion-related health records and data.

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Managing Privacy Risks to Advance Health Equity through Dissemination of Disaggregated Data

Law & Policy InsightsHealth Data Sharing and PrivacyDe-identification of DataHealth Information and Data Sharing

January 10, 2023
by Stephen Murphy

Dissemination of data disaggregated by race and ethnicity is an important step in advancing health equity. However, the public dissemination of datasets that include race and ethnicity raises important legal considerations around privacy, primarily around re-identification. Re-identification refers to the ability to use data from a de-identified dataset to identify individuals. Modifications to the released data can reduce re-identification risks while maximizing the data’s utility.

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Disaggregation of Public Health Data by Race & Ethnicity: A Legal Handbook

HandbookHealth Information and Data SharingHealth Data Sharing and PrivacyPublic Health Information Management, Privacy and Security

December 14, 2022
by Carrie Waggoner and Stephen Murphy

Detailed race and ethnicity data in public health is needed to adequately identify, assess, and address health inequities and structural racism, yet this type of data is often not utilized because of misunderstandings around the legality of collecting and sharing it. To assist public health practitioners and attorneys across state, Tribal, and local governments in the use of data to advance health equity, the Network has produced a legal handbook that addresses the role of law in collecting and disseminating public health data disaggregated by race and ethnicity.    

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