Network Report



Current Issues in Public Health Law

Integrating Disabilities Protections into Emergency Planning

New York City is no stranger to major emergencies. After 9/11, the city prioritized emergency planning to ensure affirmative and efficacious responses. These measures were tested in 2012 when Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast coast, and new lessons emerged for NYC — notably concerning well-publicized failures to accommodate the needs of persons with disabilities

More about emergency planning and disabilities protections.

Mapping State Patient Confidentiality Laws

All states and the District of Columbia have laws that generally protect the confidentiality of personally identifiable information (PII), though 24 states have laws that allow health departments to release information for purposes related to disease control. The federal, state and local laws that guide the reporting, release and use of PII can be incredibly confusing for health departments. The Public Health Departments and State Patient Confidentiality Laws map on communicable diseases can help health departments effectively use existing laws to promote public health and coordinate care.

Learn more about State Patient Confidentiality Laws Map.

New Legal Resource: Reviewing Emergency Volunteer Liability and Protections

Volunteers are an integral part of our disaster response system. Granting emergency volunteers legal protections ensures there are enough volunteers willing to participate in response efforts. The Reviewing Emergency Volunteer Liability and Protections quick reference guide describes the different types of emergency volunteers, explains why it’s important to provide volunteers with legal protections, and identifies key laws that provide volunteers with legal protections.

View the resource.

Webinar: Advocacy Boundaries for Nonprofits and Federal Grantees

Researchers often have access to the best available evidence to guide public health policy. It is important for this evidence to be brought to the attention of policy-makers through advocacy, but must be done so within the guidelines established by regulations governing such activities. In our December webinar with the Society for Advancement of Violence and Injury Research, advocacy attorney Eric K. Gorovitz will define lobbying under federal tax law, explain how much lobbying a nonprofit organization can do, and discuss the restrictions on lobbying with federal funds and how nonprofits can maximize the impact of their lobbying efforts without violating federal rules.

Learn more and register.

Ask the Experts:

Emergency Legal Response to Meningitis Outbreak at Princeton University

The Network was recently contacted by a requestor with two questions regarding response to a recent outbreak of meningitis at Princeton University. The requestor wanted to know if the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had issued an emergency declaration in order to facilitate off use drug therapy or vaccines in this situation. Further, she asked whether the State of New Jersey could quarantine for meningitis under its own authority in the event that meningitis is not on the Federal list of diseases for which quarantine is permissible.

View the Network’s assistance on this inquiry.

Contact the Network to get legal assistance.

CDC and Pseudophedrine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health Law Program has released a new issue brief, Pseudoephedrine: Legal Efforts To Make It a Prescription-Only Drug, which provides an overview of legal efforts at the federal, state and local levels to limit access to pseudoephedrine. Pseudoephedrine, the main ingredient used to make methamphetamine (meth), is a nasal decongestant typically found in nonprescription cold, allergy and sinus medications, making it an easy source for people who operate illegal meth labs to obtain this precursor chemical. 

View the issue brief.

2014 Public Health Law Conference

It’s not too early to register for the 2014 Public Health Law Conference in Atlanta, GA. The conference, taking place on October 16 & 17 will inspire and equip attendees to tackle critical public health challenges with legal solutions. 

Register today to receive the early-bird discount.

Public Health Law Research

Many state laws on car seats and seat belts may leave children unprotected and vulnerable to injuries caused in vehicle crashes, according to a new study published this week in Social Science and Medicine. The study, examining child passenger safety laws across all 50 states, found that many state laws lag behind existing research on vehicular safety.

More on state child car seat laws.

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, discuss 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.