As the country reels from the death toll and economic fall-out of the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans must focus on addressing a more persistent and pernicious public health crisis – systemic racism and injustice. In the wake of George Floyd’s death, Minneapolis City Councilwoman Andrea Jenkins sought an emergency declaration that racism is a public health issue. The past two weeks have seen a number of jurisdictions call for, and issue, resolutions (including formal resolutions, declarations, and executive orders) to address racism as a public health crisis. This issue brief highlights twenty-four resolutions introduced or adopted since 2019. Read more.
More than a Vote: Civic Engagement and Health Amid COVID-19
As the country continues to struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic, states are scrambling to address a myriad of issues in this election year. While states must come up with plans to ensure the health and safety of voters and facilitate participation in the election process, attention must also be paid to the long-term health consequences that have been linked to a lack of civic participation, which are just as critical as the immediate risk of COVID-19.
The Network is collaborating with Voting Rights Lab to help raise awareness about protecting public health and voter participation in the 2020 elections, and has signed on to an Open Letter to Protect Vulnerable Populations During the 2020 Elections – we encourage readers to share this letter.
Policing as a Social Determinant of Health: Addressing the Public Health Crisis of Systemic Racism
Although racism in the context of policing is often seen as a criminal justice issue, the reality is that racism and policing disparately affect health outcomes, and ultimately all aspects of life, for Black individuals and people of color. Racism and police violence are public health crises. We can begin to solve this crisis by prioritizing policing and systemic racism as critical social determinants of health. Doing so will truly begin to address the underlying needs of vulnerable communities.
COVID-19: Real-time guidance, resources and information
Some states are experiencing increased cases of COVID-19 and still others whose cases had held steady or declined expect to see increased spread of the virus as a result of protests held nationwide and the reopening of state and local economies. Public health agencies, health care workers, emergency managers, and policymakers are working on core legal preparedness and response efforts to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The Network’s real-time resources, guidance, and information are available to assist the public health community.
COVID-19: Ethical Issues in the Management of COVID-19
June 25 | 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. ET
Join us for a discussion of some of the thorny ethical issues that have arisen in the context of scarce resources during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the challenges presented by the absence of uniform statewide ethics guidelines. The 2015 Ventilator Guidelines of the New York State Task Force on Life and the Law will be addressed, and the various contested grounds for making triage decisions including age, disabilities and long-term survival. Immunities for providers and triage committee members will also be discussed, and the limits of such immunities.
Opioid Policy Changes during the COVID-19 Pandemic - and Beyond
Corey Davis, deputy director of the Network’s Southeastern Region Office, co-authored this article published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, describing the increased risk for COVID-19 experienced by those with opioid use disorder (OUD). The authors discuss existing policy barriers to evidence-based prevention and treatment for individuals with OUD, explain the temporary rollbacks of those barriers, and argue that law and policy changes local governments have made to increase access to OUD treatment and divert some individuals at high risk away from the correctional system during COVID-19 should be made permanent.
Racial Residential Segregation and Health Justice: Public Health Impacts of Housing Policies in the United States
Housing is a fundamental driver of population health, and unjust housing policies have perpetuated disproportionate health outcomes. In this video, public health, legal and housing experts, including Dr. Sandro Galea and representatives from the Mapping Prejudice project at the University of Minnesota, share their insights on housing inequities and the laws and policies that enabled segregation and steered resources away from poor neighborhoods, and how these factors contribute today to poor health outcomes for people of color.
Webinar: Communicating Critical Messages during Challenging Times
This webinar, hosted by The Kresge Foundation, will provide real-world examples from emerging local public health leaders and experts from around the country on strategies to develop and deliver crisis-oriented communications. Participants will learn new tactics, tools and guidance for shaping effective messaging in today’s environment. Webinar takes place on June 25 from 5 – 6:30 p.m. ET.
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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.