Law & Policy Insights

How Public Health Departments and Medical-Legal Partnerships Can Collaborate to Strengthen Community Health Efforts

Law & Policy InsightsMedical-Legal Partnerships

July 12, 2019
by Colleen Healy Boufides

Medical-legal partnership (MLP) attorneys are ideally situated to identify and define the contours of specific legal issues affecting a community’s health. MLPs can also play an important role in informing, guiding, and effectuating strategic legal changes to improve health at the population level. In addition to working with MLPs on public health law and policy initiatives, there are many additional opportunities for public health departments and MLPs to collaborate on a day-to-day basis.

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Connecting Traditions to Wellness: Key Policy Takeaways from the 2019 Tribal Public Health Summit

Law & Policy InsightsOpioid Misuse and Overdose PreventionEnvironment, Climate and HealthTribal HealthOral HealthOral Health Project

July 11, 2019
by Leila Barraza

Tribes across the country are restoring ancient traditions to improve overall wellness of American Indians and Alaska Natives. The recent National Tribal Public Health Summit highlighted these stories and identified the need for law and policy solutions to address a number of critical issues including opioid harm prevention and treatment, access to oral health care, and climate change.

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With Natural Disasters on the Rise, Solar Batteries Could Become Essential to Public Health and Safety

Law & Policy InsightsEnvironment, Climate and Health

June 18, 2019
by Betsy Lawton

When natural disasters occur, entire electrical grid systems (including those powered by solar energy) can shut down. Solar energy stored in batteries, which operate independent of the grid, have become an increasingly important, reliable back-up system for maintaining the health and safety of communities in emergencies. Solar batteries also help reduce public health harms caused by climate change and the use of fossil fuels.

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Public Health Law News Round-Up – May 2019

Law & Policy Insights

June 5, 2019

Public health law and policy stories that made headlines recently include the impact of cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program on food insecurity in the U.S.; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ rule allowing health workers to opt out of procedures they object to for religious or personal reasons; a precedent-setting ruling mandating addiction treatment for a prison inmate; racial disparities in pregnancy-related deaths; warning labels on sugary drinks; and Washington state’s public insurance offering.

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Motor Vehicle Fatalities Involving Children and Impaired Drivers: Are Child Endangerment Laws Really Failing Us?

Law & Policy InsightsMaternal and Child HealthInjury Prevention and Safety

May 23, 2019
by Kerri McGowan Lowrey

One in five child passenger fatalities in the U.S. involve an impaired driver, most commonly the child’s own driver. Forty-six states and D.C. have child endangerment statutes that impose special sanctions for driving under the influence while transporting a child. Despite the widespread use of such laws, studies of their effectiveness suggest they may not be effective in preventing alcohol-related child fatalities in motor vehicle crashes, primarily due to low public awareness and lax enforcement.

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Dementia Reimagined: Essential Insights and a Call for Supportive Laws and Policies

Law & Policy Insights

May 21, 2019
by James G. Hodge, Jr.

A 2018 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the U.S. burden of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias will double by 2060. Responding to this national public health crisis of the mind facing millions of Americans and their families is essential. A recently released book, Dementia Reimagined, chronicles multiple opportunities to positively intervene in the lives of patients with dementia and their caregivers, and calls for national, state and local policy reforms to address deficiencies in the care and treatment of dementia.

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Access to Oral Health Care in the U.S. Remains an Issue, but Innovative Workforce Approaches Can Help

Law & Policy InsightsOral HealthOral Health Project

May 8, 2019

Despite progress in improving the nation’s oral health in recent decades, significant disparities still exist. People from rural communities, those with low incomes, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, pregnant women, and the elderly suffer disproportionately from tooth decay and gum disease and are less likely to visit a dentist than other Americans. Direct access laws and policies that authorize dental hygienists to provide oral health services in community-based settings, without the presence of a dentist, can bring important oral health care to underserved communities.

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The Debate over Air Safety and Children: What the Law Says About Car Seats on Planes

Law & Policy Insights

May 7, 2019
by Jennifer Bernstein

While the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allows children under the age of two to travel in an airplane seated on an adult’s lap, they contend that the safest place for a child on an airplane is in a government-approved child safety restraint system or device, like a car seat. Despite laws allowing the use of certain car seats on aircraft, airlines are able to establish their own policies, and there is significant confusion among their personnel about what seats can be used.

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A Confusing Path Forward for Federal Regulation of Cannabidiol Products

Law & Policy InsightsMarijuana Legalization

April 18, 2019
by Mathew R. Swinburne

Dietary supplements and foods containing cannabidiol (CBD) are being sold over-the-counter throughout the United States. The over-the-counter sale of dietary supplements and foods containing CBD has created a lot of confusion regarding the legality of this practice because of CBD’s association with marijuana and recent changes in the 2018 Farm Bill.

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