Network Report



Current Issues in Public Health Law

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) takes on Trans Fats

The FDA recently announced that it is taking steps to reduce trans fats in processed foods. The agency estimates that further reducing the amount of trans fats in the American diet could prevent up to 7,000 deaths per year. A large body of evidence shows how chronic health conditions — including heart disease and diabetes — are linked to trans fats, and a number of cities around the country have already taken steps to decrease consumption of trans fats.

Read more.

Regulating Recreational Use of Marijuana

Two states — Colorado and Washington — have legalized the recreational use of marijuana through voter initiative, and are now developing rules to regulate use. Those in public health law will have a role to play as important questions around the regulation marijuana remain and more states are considering legalization.

More on marijuana regulation.

Quick Reference: HIPAA and Public Health

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) omnibus final rule, meant to enhance patients’ privacy protections, provide individuals new rights to their health information, and strengthen the government’s ability to enforce the law. The final rule implements the modifications required by the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act). The Network’s new resource is a quick reference of the primary regulatory changes to HIPAA.

View the HIPAA resource.

Tracking Laws Governing Prescription Monitoring Programs

Prescription drug overdose is responsible for approximately 15,000 deaths per year in the United States. Prescription monitoring programs (PMPs), which collect patient-specific prescription information in centralized databases, can be used by doctors to prevent drug misuse. A new interactive map on, created with the help of the Network’s Corey Davis, outlines the characteristics of laws that govern PMPs across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

View the Prescription Monitoring Program Laws Map.

Public Health Law Series Webinar: Specialty Courts to Improve Public Health Outcomes

Specialty courts focus specifically on one area of law, making them a cost-effective and efficient way to address public health problems. The November Public Health Law Series webinar will examine how specialty courts can be a tool to improve public health. Presenters will share evaluations of select specialty courts and talk about their research investigating the impact of these courts. This webinar will take place on November 21 at 1 – 2 p.m. (ET).

Learn more and register for the Specialty Courts webinar.

2014 Public Health Law Conference

It's not too early to register for the 2014 Public Health Law Conference! Taking place October 16 and 17, 2014 in Atlanta, GA, the conference will gather public health and legal experts from across the country to examine and discuss today’s critical challenges in public health law. Leaders in the field will present on a range of emerging issues from a variety of perspectives. Attendees will return home inspired and equipped to improve public health with legal solutions.

Learn more about the conference and how to get the early bird registration rate.

Ask the Experts:

Model Legal Agreements for Regional Public Health Programs

A county health official recently contacted the Network for information and resources to develop a regional model to implement the Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) program. Individual county health departments in the official’s state lacked the population size needed to implement their own program. The official asked for the Network’s help finding model legal agreements for this type of regional project.

Contact the Network to get legal assistance.

The Future of Public Health Law Education Faculty Fellowship

Applications are invited for 10 faculty fellowships in public health law education. This program from Georgia State University College of Law and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, seeks to foster innovations in educational programming (including clinical, externship, and other experiential learning) and to build a strong learning community among faculty who teach in the public health law field. The faculty fellowship opportunity is open to senior, mid-level, and junior faculty (minimum of three years of full-time teaching experience) affiliated with law schools or schools/programs of public health.

Learn more and apply.

Public Health Law Research (PHLR) Request for Abstracts

Join the national dialogue on law and public health by attending at the Public Health Law Research (PHLR) 2014 Annual Meeting. PHLR is currently accepting submissions for presentations that will advance current efforts in making the case for laws that improve health. Read the full request for abstracts. Abstract submissions are due November 20, 2013.

Student Network

Webinar: Tools for Landing a Job in Public Health Law

Landing that perfect job isn’t always easy. Matthew Penn, Director of the Public Health Law Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will talk about the ins and outs of job searching and provide tips for successful cover letters, resumes and interviews. There will be time for a short Q&A session. This webinar will take place on Friday, December 6 at 1:30 p.m. (ET).

Register for the webinar.