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

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 InsightsCannabis Legalization and Regulation

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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Privacy Officers and Data Sharing: A Q&A with Network Attorney Sallie Milam

Law & Policy Insights

April 11, 2019
by Sallie Milam

Building healthy communities requires access to relevant data from multiple sectors, including public health, health care, schools, human services, housing and law enforcement. Because they can be complex to navigate, federal and state laws governing data collection, use, and sharing can act as barriers to data use. With specialized knowledge in the use of data, privacy officers can help reduce this complexity, making data more accessible to the agencies they serve.

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New York City’s Public Health Emergency Order on Mandatory Measles Vaccinations – FAQs

Law & Policy Insights

April 11, 2019

This week, New York City declared a public health emergency in response to a measles outbreak which has infected hundreds of residents, mostly children. The emergency declaration includes an order for mandatory MMR vaccinations affecting residents in select areas of Williamsburg and Brooklyn where most of the existing infections have arisen. Some see the order as an unusual exercise of public health authority. Our FAQ breaks down the key components of the mandate and the legal requirements.

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Gaps in Federal and State Laws Leave Private Well Users Vulnerable to Drinking Water Contamination

Law & Policy Insights

April 9, 2019
by Betsy Lawton

There are distinct differences in how U.S. laws do (or don’t) protect individuals from drinking water contamination. While a landmark federal law, the Safe Drinking Water Act, generally protects individuals who use a public water supply from exposure to unsafe levels of regulated contaminants, there is no similar protection for the approximately 45 million U.S. residents who rely on private wells for water. This gap in regulatory oversight increasingly burdens rural households, where the risk of exposure to nitrate contaminates is highest.

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Border Wall Emergency 2019: Potential Impacts on Public Health Preparedness

Law & Policy Insights

March 28, 2019
by James G. Hodge, Jr.

President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to authorize and fund the construction of a border wall along the U.S. southern border prompted an unprecedented response from Congress, which then passed a resolution to terminate the declaration. Ongoing politicization and forthcoming statutory amendments or court decisions may fundamentally change the scope of national emergencies in the future.

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Overdose Prevention and Harm Reduction Law and Policy Update

Law & Policy InsightsOpioid Misuse and Overdose Prevention

March 21, 2019
by Corey Davis

The increase in drug-related harm that began over two decades ago continues to impact individuals and communities across the country. Partly due to this unprecedented and continuing rise in overdose-related harm, states and communities have taken a number of legal and policy steps to improve access to prevention and treatment. This post provides a few highlights, in no particular order.

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What’s Old Is New Again: Eastern Regional Meeting

Law & Policy Insights

March 13, 2019
by Megan Griest

In February, the Network’s Eastern Region Office hosted a day-long event with leaders, policymakers and practitioners to examine key challenges facing the public health community. Issues discussed included immigrant health; the impact of preemption on public health; same sex domestic violence protections; marijuana advertising regulations; and Congressional public health priorities.

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