At least 15 state legislatures have passed or are considering measures to limit severely the legal authority of public health agencies to protect the public from serious illness, injury, and death. The new report, Proposed Limits on Public Health Authority: Dangerous for Public Health released by the Network and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), provides an overview of public health authority and its important role in protecting the health of communities, as well as examples of specific laws that would limit public health authority. Learn more about the report.
The New Era of Smarter Food Safety Initiative released by the agency in June of 2020 serves as the blueprint for the FDA’s approach to food safety over the next decade. While it builds on the foundation created by the 2010 Food Safety Modernization Act, the Initiative represents a new approach to food safety that will leverage technology and data to create a safer food system.
Some of the public health law and policy issues in the headlines in recent weeks include HIPAA and proof of vaccination; colleges’ vaccination plans; racial disparities in vaccination rates; possible changes to governors’ authority during future public health emergencies; the relationship between COVID-19 and the opioid epidemic; and the Department of Health and Human Services’ strategy to increase vaccination rates.
Generally, resolutions that declare racism as a public health emergency both highlight the racial health disparities within the community and include a commitment to dismantle the systems that create the public health crisis. These resolutions can jump-start critical efforts to assess the barriers to health created by current laws. This resource can help guide stakeholders in developing and implementing declarations as well as thinking through broader issues connected to race and racism.
A county health department contacted the Network for guidance on whether the department could prohibit the recording of video and/or photography in their facilities. The question arose after an individual entered their WIC facility and begin filming and harassing clients and staff. This resource provides guidance on balancing client privacy with first amendment rights.
Dissatisfaction and anger at perceived overreaches by governors and public health officials in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an onslaught of legislative proposals to eliminate or limit the emergency powers and public health authority used by these officials. This webinar, presented jointly by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) and the Network, provides an overview of the role of public health authority in protecting the health of communities, and examines specific laws that would limit public health authority.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created profound challenges to public health’s efforts to protect communities. From ensuring the safety of voters to making difficult decisions under extreme conditions, public health professionals have had to address unprecedented and complicated issues in the process of exercising their authority. Join us for a discussion of how we can strengthen our public health emergency response and address the inequities that the pandemic has further exacerbated.
The Network is proud to announce our new project with The Kresge Foundation to provide legal capacity building and technical assistance to the Foundation’s Emerging Leaders in Public Health Initiative. Over the three years of the grant, the Network will assist more than 100 visionary leaders at city, county, tribal and state public health organizations around the country to build the legal knowledge and skills they need to strengthen and transform the role of their organizations and improve the health and well-being of people in their communities.
The Network is pleased to announce Dr. Deborah Prothrow-Stith, Dean and Professor at the Charles R. Drew University College of Medicine, as keynote speaker for the 2021 Public Health Law Conference. Dr. Prothrow-Stith broke new ground with efforts to define youth violence as a public health issue, and more recently has focused on how the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected African Americans.
The Network is seeking a Senior Attorney to work with our Mid-States Region Office, located at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, in Ann Arbor, Michigan (we will consider applicants who are willing and able to work remotely). The Senior Attorney will focus on legal issues regarding the collection, sharing, and protection of data for public health purposes, including addressing determinants of health and promoting racial and health equity. For best consideration, apply by June 17, 2021. Apply today.
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.
In a new commentary in the New England Journal of Medicine, Scott Burris, Evan Anderson, and Alexander Wagenaar describe the historic neglect of public health law and policy research, and the predicament this causes during public health emergencies, like the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors call for greater investment in research and research infrastructure to learn what we need to know going forward about the effect of laws and policies on health, particularly as we sit in the waiting room of the next pandemic.
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.