Issue Brief

State and Local Efforts to Declare Racism a Public Health Crisis – Eastern Region Update

Issue BriefRacism as a Public Health CrisisMechanisms for Advancing Health Equity

June 24, 2022
by Morgan Jones-Axtell

In summer 2020, as the disparities in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continued to worsen and amid racial justice protests following the murder of George Floyd, cities, counties, states, and other agencies and organizations increasingly issued formal resolutions declaring racism a public health crisis. This Issue Brief is the third in a series of updated analyses looking at resolutions issued in each region of the country based on the Network’s regional offices. These analyses will focus primarily on state and local government entities, including city councils, county boards of commissioners (BOC), city and county executives, school boards, and boards of health (BOH).

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WIC: Lessons Learned from COVID-19

Issue BriefMaternal and Child HealthFood Safety and SecurityCOVID-19 and Health EquityMechanisms for Advancing Health Equity

May 19, 2022
by Mathew R. Swinburne

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (commonly known as the WIC program) is the third largest food and nutrition assistance program in the U.S. In 2020 alone, WIC served approximately 6.2 million participants a month, including almost half of all infants born in the country. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the program to expand benefits and alter its administration in ways that have greatly improved participants' lives. This issue brief evaluates the COVID-19 changes to the WIC program and assesses the current issues with the Program highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It also provides policy recommendations to ensure greater participation and adequate benefits for participants.

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The FTC Could Help Curb the Youth Obesity Epidemic by Cracking Down on the Deceptive Advertising of Unhealthy Foods During Children’s Programming Hours

Issue BriefFood Safety and SecurityMechanisms for Advancing Health Equity

May 18, 2022
by Kathleen Hoke and Mathew R. Swinburne

This issue brief examines evidence of racial disparities with respect to COVID-19 infections and deaths, possible causes, and legal protections against race discrimination. It also provides an overview of CSC planning, including key ethical features that may be utilized to ensure that CSC planning incorporates concerns about racial inequity.

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Meeting the Promise of Racial Health Equity By Reducing Police Intervention in Suicide Prevention Activities: Law and Policy Solutions

Issue BriefMechanisms for Advancing Health EquityMental Health and Well-Being

December 15, 2021
by April Shaw

This resource assesses suicide risk among communities of color and demonstrates why the demands of racial health equity require taking the problem of police violence seriously and creating systems that reduce contact with police. It also identifies opportunities for limiting the role of law enforcement in suicide prevention and law and policy pathways for how commitments set forth in declarations of racism as a public health crisis can be put into action.

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Crisis Standards of Care: Legal Issues Underlying Key Decisions Regarding Scarce Resources

Issue BriefCrisis Standards of CareHealth and Health Care

September 7, 2021
by Jennifer Piatt

This issue brief examines evidence of racial disparities with respect to COVID-19 infections and deaths, possible causes, and legal protections against race discrimination. It also provides an overview of CSC planning, including key ethical features that may be utilized to ensure that CSC planning incorporates concerns about racial inequity.

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D.C.: Laws Regarding Minor Consent to Health Care

Issue BriefHealth Information and Data SharingDistrict of Columbia

May 5, 2021

This issue brief reviews several aspects of D.C. law that are critical to the issue of consent to medical care, detailing ways the law provides for minors to consent to their own care. It also addresses when someone other than a parent or guardian may consent to treatment for a minor. And finally, this brief addresses additional considerations in the laws surrounding minor consent, specifically emergency circumstances and liability concerns.

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Maryland: Laws Regarding Minor Consent to Health Care

Issue BriefHealth Information and Data SharingMaryland

May 5, 2021

This issue brief reviews several aspects of Maryland law that are critical to the issue of consent to medical care, detailing the ways the law provides for minors to consent to their own care. It also addresses when someone other than a parent or guardian may consent to treatment for a minor. And finally, this brief addresses additional considerations in the laws surrounding minor consent, specifically emergency circumstances and liability concerns.

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State Laws Addressing Discrimination against Medical Cannabis Patients

50-state surveyIssue BriefCannabis Legalization and RegulationMechanisms for Advancing Health Equity

April 7, 2021

Thirty-six states and Washington, D.C. recognize medical cannabis as a lawful medication. However, the law in many of these states fails to adequately protect patients in their efforts to secure employment, enroll in school, rent a home, or even secure child custody or visitation rights. Treating medical cannabis patients differently from other patients is inherently discriminatory and produces harmful stigma, which creates negative short- and long-term health effects.

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Renewable Energy Standards: A Strategy to Transition Rapidly Away From the Use of Coal, Oil, and Natural Gas to Clean, Safe, and Affordable Renewable Energy

Issue BriefEnvironment, Climate and HealthMechanisms for Advancing Public Health

December 16, 2020
by Betsy Lawton and Jill Krueger

Renewable energy standards—often called Renewable Portfolio Standards—are important in hastening the transition from fossil fuels to renewable and low-carbon energy sources, slowing climate change and bringing immediate health benefits to communities. This issue brief, produced collaboratively by the Network and the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health, outlines how renewable energy standards work and the important role they play in advancing health and health equity.

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