Public Health Law Blog

New York City Child Influenza Vaccination Rules Upheld by State's Highest Court

posted on Tue, Jul 17 2018 2:41 pm by Drew Hensley and James G. Hodge, Jr.

In states that have passed mandatory flu immunization for children between six months and five years of age, deaths and hospitalization due to flu have declined. In June, the New York Court of Appeals upheld a New York City Health Code requiring annual flu vaccination for children (ages of six – 59 months) who attend city-regulated child care or school-based programs. The ruling is a significant victory for public health in light of the ongoing legal challenges to mandatory vaccination requirements and childhood vaccination rates.

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Broadband Access as a “Super-Determinant” of Health

posted on Tue, Jul 17 2018 2:14 pm by Brittney Crock Bauerly

Access to broadband is increasingly being recognized as an important social determinant of health. However, despite progress in expanding connectivity, approximately 34 million people in the United States still lack broadband access. The “digital divide” is particularly acute in rural communities, where 23 million residents lack broadband access. Law and policy directly affect the availability and cost of broadband services. Federal and state policies, including the funding of broadband infrastructure in rural areas, can facilitate expansion of broadband access.

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Maternal Mortality Review Committees and Their Potential Impact on Maternal Mortality Rates

posted on Mon, Jul 16 2018 3:54 pm by Daniel Young

More women in the United States die from pregnancy complications than in any other developed country, and the rate of maternal deaths continues to rise. Recent legislation passed by Congress establishes a shared responsibility between States and the Federal Government to identify opportunities to improve maternal health. The legislation supports the development of a model for States to operate maternal mortality reviews, assess the various factors that may have contributed to maternal mortality, and develop appropriate interventions to reduce and prevent such deaths.

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Public Health Law News Round-Up – June 2018

posted on Wed, Jun 20 2018 10:45 am by The Network for Public Health Law

Some of the public health law and policy stories that made headlines recently include a Justice Department declaration that key provisions of the Affordable Care Act are unconstitutional; a proposed change to a Medicaid rule to address the opioid crisis; rising suicide rates in the U.S.; the multi-state hepatitis A virus outbreak; studies showing the effectiveness of certain gun laws; and Virginia’s decision to expand its Medicaid programs.

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Lessons from Los Angeles: Sanitation as Health Justice for People Experiencing Homelessness

posted on Thu, Jun 7 2018 9:42 am by Walter Johnson and Madeline Morcelle

The U.S. is experiencing its worst outbreak of hepatitis A in over 20 years. The outbreak has primarily affected people experiencing homelessness (PEH) due to their lack of access to sanitation and hygiene facilities. In Los Angeles alone, one study found only nine public toilets for every 1,777 PEH. As a result, the city has initiated community and local government interventions designed to address this shortfall.

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Cooperative Extension as a Partner in Creating Healthy Communities

posted on Wed, Jun 6 2018 12:15 pm by Jill Krueger

Extension programs connect land grant universities and the larger public, bringing academic research to communities that can apply it. Programming at the recently held National Health Outreach Conference, sponsored by the Cooperative Extension System, focused on engaging in a culture of health and highlighted ways in which Extension programs are collaborating with others to advance community health.

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Tax Incentives and Public Health: Injury Prevention on the Road, on the Water, and at Home

posted on Wed, May 23 2018 11:35 am by Ashley Creech and Yuezhu Laura Liu

Tax exemptions can be used effectively to encourage the purchase of consumer goods that support public health and safety by reducing the rate of injury or death. A few states have passed sales tax exemptions that fit the bill for public health, including exemptions for child car seats, bicycle helmets, and fire-safety equipment for homes. But these types of tax exemptions are often underutilized.   

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Next Generation 911: Maryland Answers the Call to Upgrade the State's Emergency Response System

posted on Wed, May 9 2018 11:15 am by Alec Prechtel and Kathleen Hoke

Many of us use smartphones every day to send text messages, share videos, get from point A to point B, and even share our location with another person. While these services are of particular value during an emergency, they are not available to many 911 dispatch centers and emergency services around the country. In Maryland, legislation was passed to advance Next Generation 911 in the state.

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Q & A on Public Health Legal Implications of the Flint Water Crisis

posted on Wed, Apr 25 2018 12:51 pm by Network for Public Health Law

The Flint, Michigan, water crisis was a manmade disaster that resulted in the poisoning of thousands of children and adults after lead leached into the city’s drinking water; sadly, the harm to Flint residents is still impacting the community today. In this Q&A, Network senior attorney Colleen Healy Boufides, discusses a report she co-authored that examines the legal failures that lead to the crisis as well as what can be learned with regard to public health practice to protect other communities.

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A Nation’s Response to the School Shooting in Parkland, Florida

posted on Wed, Apr 25 2018 11:13 am by Dani Chronister and Sarah A. Wetter

In the aftermath of the killing of 17 people and the injuring of 15 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School in Parkland, Florida, the Trump administration has considered advocating for various gun control measures, including strengthening of the national background check system (NICS) and a ban on bump-stocks (devices that fully automate semi-automatic weapons). There are additional evidence-based gun control measures that have demonstrated efficacy in preventing gun deaths and injuries in several states.

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