Law & Policy Insights

Struggling in the Shadows: The Mental Anguish of Educational Fraud

Law & Policy InsightsMental Health and Well-Being

September 10, 2020
by April Shaw

Although there has been some attention to the mental health impacts of student loan debt, little attention has been directed towards the harm experienced by those with student loan debt who have been defrauded by for-profit colleges. These individuals have massive debt after pursuing an education that does not afford any of the opportunities typically associated with higher education. The harm they experience is not merely economic—it’s a social harm with deeply damaging impacts on mental health.

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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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Protecting the Nation’s Future: COVID-19’s Mental Health Effects on America’s Youth

Law & Policy InsightsCOVID-19COVID-19 and Health EquityMental Health and Well-Being

September 4, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic affects not only people’s physical but also mental health. Adolescents are at a particularly high risk of experiencing negative mental health effects from the pandemic and related social distancing measures. Impacts are likely to have lasting effects on the nation’s youth for years to come. Taking steps to implement and maintain mental health resources now may be the key to diminishing negative mental health outcomes.

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Public Health Decision-making in the COVID-19 Era: Act, but be Cautious

Law & Policy InsightsCOVID-19Public Health Advocacy and Decision-Making

August 26, 2020
by Peter D. Jacobson

By temperament, I’m generally an aggressive interpreter of state public health codes. In normal times, I argue for an expansive interpretation of health officers’ authority to protect the public’s health. But these are not normal times. A non-trivial portion of the public believes the coronavirus is a hoax and mask-wearing mandates are tyrannical. One result of this resistance is that public health officials have been attacked and threatened for issuing or enforcing COVID-19 mask-wearing or stay-at-home orders. Health officers cannot ignore the potential threats to their personal safety. Depending on the local political environment, some caution is called for—caution, not acquiescence.

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Addressing Native American Food Insecurity During the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Older Americans Act Title VI Programs

Law & Policy InsightsCOVID-19COVID-19 and Health EquityTribal Health

August 24, 2020
by Mathew R. Swinburne

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased food insecurity across the country and Native American communities are acutely impacted because of poverty and loss of traditional food systems and practices (hunting, gathering, and cultivating culturally relevant and locally available foods). The scope of Native American food insecurity prior to COVID-19, while difficult to quantify, is an important baseline for understanding the challenge facing this community, the resources that are needed and whether current governmental programs are adequately meeting those needs.

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Structural Racism May Negatively Impact COVID-19 Vaccination Rates among Black Americans

Law & Policy InsightsCOVID-19 and Health EquityMechanisms for Advancing Public Health

August 20, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the structural inequalities that Black Americans experience in this country. Black people are more likely to have pre-existing conditions that lead to COVID-19 susceptibility and are more likely to be uninsured or have inadequate insurance coverage compared to white people. These structural inequalities, combined with incidences of medical racism, including reports of Black people being turned away from hospitals, have contributed to the shockingly high rates at which Black people have died from COVID-19.

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Evaluating Equity in Public Health Laws and Policies – A Critical Tool at a Critical Time

Law & Policy InsightsCOVID-19 and Health EquityMechanisms for Advancing Public Health

August 13, 2020
by Dawn Hunter

Conducting a regular assessment of laws and policies is a strategy for addressing health equity, especially when that assessment includes and is informed by community perspectives. The Network’s latest tool – Equity Assessment Framework for Public Health Laws and Policies – is designed to assist policymakers and practitioners in assessing new and existing laws and policies through an equity perspective. This framework can be applied to statutes, regulations, ordinances, resolutions, declarations, organizational policies, and policy guidance that either directly impact public health or impact the operations of agencies or organizations responsible for health outcomes.

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Addressing Native American Food Insecurity during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Food Distribution Programs on Indian Reservations

Law & Policy InsightsCOVID-19COVID-19 and Health EquityTribal Health

August 12, 2020
by Mathew R. Swinburne

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased food insecurity across the country and Native American communities are acutely impacted because of poverty and loss of traditional food systems and practices (hunting, gathering, and cultivating culturally relevant and locally available foods). The scope of Native American food insecurity prior to COVID-19, while difficult to quantify, is an important baseline for understanding the challenge facing this community, the resources that are needed and whether current governmental programs are adequately meeting those needs.

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Voter Safety during a Public Health Emergency: What I Learned from My Role as a Public Health Advisor In New Mexico’s June, 2020 Primary Election

Law & Policy InsightsCOVID-19COVID-19 and Health EquitySocial and Community ContextCivic Engagement and Voting

August 4, 2020

How could I make the most of my public health law background as an “actively retired” public health attorney during a pandemic whose scope has not been seen since The Great Influenza of 1918-1919? The COVID-19 pandemic flared in the spring of 2020 while preparations were underway for the 2020 New Mexico Primary Election scheduled for June 2, 2020, with early voting beginning on May 5, 2020.

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