Network Report



Current Issues in Public Health Law

Transportation and Public Health Law

How can transportation have an impact public health challenges like chronic diseases and obesity? Ed Christopher, Co-Chair of the Transportation Research Board Subcommittee on Health and Transportation, helps us understand the connection and gives examples of current approaches to transportation planning and policy decisions that maximize health benefits and address adverse impacts.

Read about transportation and public health.

The Link between HPV and Cancer

In a June interview, actor Michael Douglas asserted that his throat cancer was caused by contracting the human papillomavirus (HPV) through oral sex. His comments were sensationalized by the media, but helped bring attention to HPV, which is associated with 28,000 instances of cancer each year. With proper vaccination, around three-quarters of cancers caused by HPV can be prevented — but are state lawmakers ready to consider requiring HPV vaccination for pre-teens?  

Read about HPV and legislation.

Newtown Six Months Later and Beyond

June 14, 2013 marked the sixth month anniversary of the tragic events that occurred in Newtown, CT, in which 20 children and six adults were killed by a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary Schools. Since this tragedy, policy makers across the country have been focused on new rules aimed at reducing gun violence. Jon S. Vernick, Co-Director, Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy, examines current and future policies.

Read about gun policies.

Public Health Law Resources

Good Samaritan/Naloxone Fact Sheet

In North Carolina, fatal drug overdoses have increased more than 300 percent in over a decade. This increase is largely driven by prescription opioids such as Oxycontin and hydrocodone, which now account for more overdose deaths than heroin and cocaine combined. Opioid overdose is typically reversible through the administration of naloxone; however, access to naloxone and other emergency treatment is often limited by laws. Recently, North Carolina joined the ranks of states that have amended their laws to address this issue.

View the North Carolina Overdose Prevention Fact Sheet.

Michigan Local Health Department Powers and Essential Public Health Services

The Michigan legislature enacted the Michigan Public Health Code in 1978, and granted broad and flexible authority to public health departments to protect the public from health threats. In 1994, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention adopted a list of ten essential public health services to provide a framework for state and local health departments. This fact sheet catalogues how the Michigan Public Health Code empowers local public health systems to perform in all areas of the ten essential services framework.

View the Michigan Public Health Code Fact Sheet.

Webinar: Zoning for the Public’s Health — Using Mixed-Use Zoning to Increase Walkability and Reduce Crime

Neighborhood design can play a significant role in public health. Recent research explores how zoning laws can impact the ability to create well-designed neighborhoods that increase walkability and reduce crime – two outcomes integrally tied to improved health.  In this free webinar, presenters will share the latest public health law research that supports these findings, describe a new method for evaluating zoning laws, and examine case studies from the East and West coasts.

Get details and register for the webinar.

Ask the Experts:

Provisions of Sports Concussion Laws

The Network recently received a request related to state adoption of specific provisions of sports concussion laws. The requester asked for  information on how many state concussion laws require  return-to-play protocols for student athletes, how many require “return-to-learn” protocols, and how many have specifically included certified athletic trainers as medical personnel who are considered qualified to make return-to-play decisions. The Network researched the relevant state laws and prepared a state-by-state table summarizing the requested information. 

View the table of sports concussion laws.

Contact the Network to get legal assistance.

Public Health Law Research

Hospital Mandates More Effective at Enforcing Vaccinations of Health Care Workers

For more than 30 years, the CDC has recommended that health care workers receive flu vaccines to prevent the spread of the illness. Vaccine mandates, either by hospital policy or state law, are intended to help reach vaccination goals among health care workers. A recent study published online in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology finds that hospital mandates, rather than state laws, were more effective at compelling health care workers to receive a flu vaccine.

Learn more about this research.

Student Network

Public Health Law Mentorship Program

The Network for Public Health Law is looking for professionals to participate in our mentorship program. Public health law professionals will be matched with law and public health students to provide guidance as the students plan their career in the field. Mentors will have the opportunity to share their passion for the field and create a lasting career network. Interested parties should apply by Thursday, August 15.  

Learn more about the mentorship program.


Network People

Courtney Chu is a Visiting Attorney Fellow at ChangeLab Solutions in Oakland, California. Courtney graduated with a dual J.D./M.P.H. degree in 2011 from the University of Virginia School of Law, and worked for the Oregon Health Authority, Public Health Division, as an administrative rules lead for the Tobacco Prevention and Education Program (TPEP) from September 2011 until March 2012. Courtney is currently examining policy and regulatory strategies that communities can employ to prevent or minimize residential displacement and its impact on public health.

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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.