Thursday, July 1, 2021
There has never been a more important time for those in the public health community to convene to address the many harms and issues exacerbated by the pandemic, and to continue to explore law and policy pathways to protect and empower our public health efforts. With the hope that conditions continue to improve around the country, we are cautiously planning an in-person Public Health Law Conference in September in Baltimore. All of the 40 sessions originally planned have been updated and remain on the schedule, and we are working closely with the conference hotel to ensure the health and safety of attendees. View the full conference schedule.
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity: Improving Health Equity through Better Data Collection
Collecting client or patient data on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) can help create a more informed picture about the health of LGBTQ individuals. This information can help providers to better understand client or patient needs and provide relevant and appropriate care, and it can equip researchers, policymakers, and public health professionals to better identify barriers to care. States should ensure that their data systems can support the collection of SOGI data as a way to better understand and address LGBTQ health disparities and identify population-level interventions.
Legal Interventions to Reduce Overdose Mortality: Overdose Good Samaritan Laws
Drug overdose is a nationwide epidemic. Opioids, either alone or in combination with other drugs or alcohol, are responsible for the majority of these deaths. Opioid overdose is reversible through the timely administration of the medication naloxone. Overdose Good Samaritan laws can offer immunity from legal prosecution to those who seek emergency help for someone overdosing and are associated with an approximate 15 percent reduction in overdose deaths. This resource provides information on Good Samaritan laws in each of the states where they exist.
Crisis Standards of Care: Legal Issues Underlying Key Decisions Regarding Scarce Resources
During the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals across the nation confronted patient surges and resource shortages consistent with implementing crisis standards of care (CSC). The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) define CSC as a “substantial change in usual health care operations and the level of care it is possible to deliver.” However, no set of legal issues are more profound than those implicated in making actual decisions about which patient[s] receive specific care in emergencies. This issue brief lists core legal issues and concerns that may arise when a resource allocation or treatment decision is made under CSC.
Immunization (IZ) Gateway Project Legal Agreements: Facilitating Secure Data Sharing for Immunization Information Systems
12:00 - 1:00 p.m. EST | July 12, 2021
Attend this webinar to learn about the legal agreements required for immunization data exchange use cases through the IZ Gateway. The IZ Gateway is a centralized hub that enables secure immunization data exchange among immunization information systems and with provider organizations. Attorneys and other attendees will have the opportunity to earn free continuing education credits by attending the webinar, which is sponsored through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Immunization Gateway project. In addition, attorneys will have the opportunity to ask questions and set up focused time with policy experts, if needed.
Network for Public Health Law Announces New Director of Southeastern Region Office
The Network is pleased to announce that Dawn Hunter, J.D., M.P.H., will head the Network’s Southeastern Region Office as director, effective July 1, 2021. The position was previously held by Gene Matthews, who will remain on the Network’s leadership team as Principal Investigator. As an experienced legislative analyst and state health department policymaker, Dawn will lead work to examine legislation impacting health and racial equity, and implement strategies to build the capacity of public health agencies and organizations to effectively use law and policy to improve health outcomes of communities across the country.
The Network is seeking a Program Associate to provide program and communications support for our National Office. This position is responsible for tracking and reporting on Network services and products, assisting on webinars, posting website content, compiling e-newsletters, as well as meetings and events coordination. Apply today.
Legal Challenges Underlying COVID-19 Vaccinations
Network attorneys James G. Hodge, Jr., Jennifer L. Piatt and Leila Barraza are among the co-authors of this commentary, published in the Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics, examining the immense law and policy challenges that have surfaced during the national COVID-19 vaccination campaign and pathways to resolve these issues in real-time to facilitate vaccine goals and objectives.
Public Health on Call: Tying the Hands of Public Health
Network National Director Donna Levin recently spoke with Dr. Josh Sharfstein about the findings of a new report released by the Network and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) outlining how several states are considering or have passed legislation to limit the ability of public health agencies to respond to infectious disease and other emergencies. At stake are the ability of health departments to impose quarantine to save lives or require masks for any conditions, including infectious tuberculosis. In this podcast, Levin talks about the history of public health authority, what's happening now in North Dakota, Kansas, and elsewhere; and the dangers of these ill-considered laws.
NALBOH Town Hall: COVID-19 |Public Health Authority
4:00 pm EST | July 13, 2021
This virtual Town Hall discussion will provide an opportunity for attendees to share, ask questions, and hear other examples about the most recent report from NACCHO and the Network for Public Health Law on public health authority, discuss ways boards of health can use the report and ways to leverage elected officials’ capacity to defend public health authority.
Systems in Focus Panel: Local Public Health Governing Boards
10:00 am MT | July 7, 2021
This panel, hosted by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Systems for Action program, will consist of experts experienced in the dynamics of effective local public health governing boards. The panelists will discuss the role of governing boards under circumstances where public health agencies are called upon to develop and implement high-consequence policies and programs in the context of imperfect information and considerable uncertainty, which the COVID-19 pandemic so vividly demonstrated.
Your interest in the work of the Network is important. Together, we can advance law as a tool to improve public health. Please forward the Network Report and encourage others to join the Network!
The Network for Public Health Law provides information and technical assistance on issues related to public health. The legal information and assistance provided in this document does not constitute legal advice or legal representation. For legal advice, readers should consult a lawyer in their state.