Thursday, December 22, 2011
News reports about car accidents caused by senior drivers are sobering. These drivers often cause great damage, or even death, not out of malice or negligence, but rather because they have simply lost the ability to drive. Unfortunately, these stories are not isolated events. Research supports the notion that older drivers are a risky driving demographic.
Monday, December 19, 2011
Despite overlapping goals and responsibilities, public health officials and law enforcement are often unclear on how to access and utilize each other’s services. The lack of collaboration became especially clear to me in 2010, when Oregon participated in the Social Distancing Law Project sponsored by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and directed by the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
When most of us think about preventing death, injuries and property damage from house fires, we probably focus on having working, properly placed smoke detectors in our homes. Smoke alarms are certainly important. But their primary purpose is to warn occupants of a dangerous fire and hopefully provide enough time to escape the blaze. A better approach is to prevent the fire from becoming serious in the first place.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Congress enacted the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA) in 2006 in response to lessons learned from past major emergencies. The bipartisan legislation made significant improvements in emergency response. Now, with some provisions set to expire in 2012, the House of Representatives (H.R. 2405) and Senate (S.1855) have introduced bills to reauthorize and extend PAHPA to further improve and refine national emergency preparedness and response.
Thursday, December 1, 2011
We talk a lot in public health law circles about using law as a tool to improve public health. And I’ve noticed that public health practitioners are talking about it, too. But the practitioners are more likely to call it policy, systems, and environmental change (PSE change). That difference in terminology makes sense to me. The dominant image of lawyers presents them in the courtroom. Public health lawyers want to broaden the conversation about the role of law from inside the courtroom to out in the environment.