Network Report



National Public Health Week at the Network

Since 1995, the first full week of April has been declared National Public Health Week to recognize efforts in, and contributions to, public health. Communities across the U.S. are asked to focus their attention on issues that promote health, wellness and safety. Throughout this week, the Network has been highlighting how laws and policies have improved public health. A few examples:

Public Health ROI and Health Equity

Corey Davis, staff attorney at the Network’s Southeastern Region examines how investments in public health — like immunizations and prevention of childhood lead exposure — have saved thousands of lives and billions in health care costs; and how new provisions in the Affordable Care Act aim to advance health equity and reduce racial and ethnic health disparities. Read more.

Public Health Law in Pictures: Youth Sports Concussion Laws

During the last decade, emergency room visits for sports- and recreation-related traumatic brain injury (TBI), including concussions, among children and adolescents increased by 60 percent. Between 2009 and 2012, 42 states passed laws on concussions in sports for youth and/or high school athletes. View our infographic on Youth Sports Concussion laws to get the full picture.

Public Health Law Research Twitter Chat

Our friends at Public Health Law Research (PHLR) are hosting a Twitter Chat tomorrow, April 5 at 1 p.m. ET, to discuss how research can contribute to empowering healthy communities. Andy Baker-White, associate director at the Network’s Mid-States Region, will participate and answer questions related to the impact of legal interventions. Join in and follow along with #PHLchat. Learn more about PHLR’s participation in National Public Health Week here.

Network Memo on the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act (PAHPRA) of 2013

President Obama recently signed into law the Pandemic and All Hazards Reauthorization Act (PAHPRA), which reauthorizes key portions of federal preparedness and response programs, and makes a number of targeted improvements. The Network’s Western Region prepared this Memorandum, summarizing key provisions of PAHPRA and providing citations to relevant sections and links to additional information.

County Health Rankings

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently released its 2013 County Health Rankings, which examines the multiple factors — from behaviors to economic barriers — that determine how long and well people live in communities across the U.S. The Rankings also allow a county to see how the health of its residents compares with those of neighboring counties. See how your county ranks here.

Elder Drivers

Elder drivers are understandably reluctant to give up their car keys — the ability to drive may be their only way to access friends, food, health care and other necessities. Yet the safety of elder drivers is becoming an increasing concern. Evidence reveals that elder drivers are more prone to accidents in general and are even more prone to fatal accidents. States have varying perspectives on this topic and have taken different actions to prevent drivers unable to safely operate a vehicle from getting behind the wheel. This Issue Brief discusses the legal approaches currently being used across the U.S., shares evidence that justifies intervention — along with the unintended consequences of action, and offers some solutions. This 50-State Compilation summarizes elder driver laws in each state.


Student Network Career Panel

Four professionals who work in various aspects of public health law and policy will present on their experiences in the Student Network’s Career Panel Webinar. Panelists will talk about their career paths, share insights on a typical day performing their role, and offer career advice for students and new professionals. There will be a Q & A session following the presentation. This webinar is free and takes place on Wednesday, April 17, at 11:00 a.m. (ET). Learn more.

Procurement as a Tool to Promote Healthy Food Environments

Procurement – or the process of purchasing goods—can be a powerful tool in the promotion of healthy food environments. State and local governments have an opportunity to use procurement to improve community heath. For example, procurement policies can be used to set limits on unhealthy foods or ingredients and promote healthier ones. This webinar will present an overview of procurement, share highlights from research and discuss best practices. The webinar is free and takes place on Thursday, April 18, from 1 – 2 p.m. (ET). Get details and register for the webinar here.

Ask the Experts:

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

The Network was recently contacted by a state official who had questions about recent changes to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) that were part of the HIPAA omnibus final rule. The official specifically asked how the changes applied to her state’s health department. The Network provided the official with a resource on the HIPAA omnibus final rule, which summarizes the sections of HIPAA that were affected and how they will be modified, and outlined several possible ways the modifications might affect a state health department. Read more.

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Thought Leaders in Health and Medicine Address Today’s Biggest Challenges

The Network is proud to offer our Joiners access to TedMed Live, a 3-day simulcast event featuring presentations by leading thinkers and innovators in health and medicine. Running April 16 – 19, the event streams live online, and covers some of today’s most critical health topics – from childhood obesity and chronic disease prevention, to innovations in medicine and health data.

Network People

A big congratulations to Clifford M. Rees, J.D., Practice Director at the Network’s Western Region, named as the recipient of the 2013 Public Lawyer of the Year Award in New Mexico! The award is given by the New Mexico Bar Association in Santa Fe, and will be formally announced by the Bar during a ceremony at the State Capitol on Friday, April 26, 2013.

Before joining the Network, Cliff worked as staff attorney for the New Mexico State Agency on Aging; the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH); the New Mexico Department of Public Safety; and as general counsel of the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration in 25 years of government service. During his years with the NMDOH, he specialized in the areas of behavioral health, drug policy reform, public health, emergency medical services, emergency preparedness, public procurement and the legislative process. Read more.

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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.