Network Report



Current Issues in Public Health Law

FDA Prepares for Potential MERS/H7N9 Threats

H7N9 influenza and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS) have emerged as public health threats in China and the Arabian Peninsula. While the two viruses have not spread globally, their mortality rates and pandemic potential have prompted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) to allow the agency to temporally approve medical products such as antibiotics, vaccines and diagnostics tests in the event of an emergency.

Read more about the viruses and EUAs.

Infectious Diseases in Prisons: Reporting Requirements and HIPAA

The recent outbreaks of two diseases, botulism and Valley Fever, in prisons in Arizona and California have raised concerns over the reporting of infectious diseases in correctional facilities. In June, Network attorneys spoke to first responders, correctional officers, nurses, and public health officials at an Arizona correctional facility about the laws that govern reporting requirements and implications for the HIPAA Privacy Rule as it applies to public health activities in correctional settings.

Read more about infections disease reporting and prisons.

Early Introduction of Solid Foods and Infant Nutrition

The publication Pediatrics recently released a study that found 40 percent of mothers fed solid foods to their infants before the minimum recommended age of four months. Premature introduction of solid foods to an infant’s diet can cause numerous health problems. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), along with new provisions in the Affordable Care Act, offer potential opportunities for addressing this issue.

Read about policy options to improve infant nutrition.

Public Health Law Resources

New Emergency Legal Preparedness and Response Resources

We’ve recently added a host of new resources to the Emergency Legal Preparedness and Response section of our website. You can now find reports, articles, presentations and tables of state laws covering issues such as liability protections for health care workers, emergency planning for persons with disabilities, isolation and quarantine measures, state crisis standards of care and more.

View the new resources.

Webinar: Public Health Impact of Statewide Anti-Bullying Legislation

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifies bullying as a major public health concern. Forty-nine states and the District of Columbia have passed some form of anti-bullying legislation to reduce bullying behaviors by youth. Our next Public Health Law Series webinar will offer an in-depth look at the anti-bullying laws of two states: Oregon and Iowa. Presenters will examine policy development and adoption, implementation of the laws and lessons learned from the field, as well as results from recent research. The webinar will take place on September 19 from 1 – 2 p.m. (ET).

Get details about the webinar and register.

Ask the Experts:

Statewide Bicycle Laws and Injury Prevention

The Network recently received a request from a health official for resources on statewide bicycle laws. The official was specifically interested in information about how laws vary across states, as well as data on the effect of such laws on injury rates. The Network referred the official to several resources covering both the implementation of statewide bicycle laws across the U.S., and the effect of these laws on rates of helmet use and injury.

See the resources the Network provided.

 Contact the Network to get legal assistance or read about other legal assistance by topic

Public Health Law Research

Public Health Law Research recently added two new datasets to its LawAtlas, an online legal and policy surveillance tool. The datasets outlining laws across all 50 states and the District of Columbia are available through interactive maps.

Child Restraint Systems Map

Every state and the District of Columbia have enacted its own set of statutes that build upon the federal requirements established in 1971 for child restraint systems. This map shows the variations in each state of height and age requirements for certain child restraint systems, when a seatbelt alone might be allowed, and the monetary fines associated with violating the laws.

Go to Child Restraint Systems Map.

The Scope of Practice of Dental Hygienists Map

Dental hygienists play an essential role in providing complete oral health care in the United States. State laws and regulations define which oral health treatments may or may not be performed by dental hygienists. This map shows dental hygienist licensing requirements, authority and supervision requirements in each of the 50 states.

Go to Dental Hygienist Scope of Practice Laws Map.

Georgia State University to Offer Dual Graduate Degree in Law and Public Health

The field of public health law is rapidly growing as public health and law increasingly become intertwined. Georgia State University recently announced their Juris Doctor/Master of Public Health (J.D./M.P.H.) dual degree program this fall. Georgia State University joins 35 other universities nationwide offering the dual degree program.

Learn more about Georgia State's new program.

Network People

Jennifer S. Bard, J.D., M.P.H., is the Alvin R. Allison Professor of Law and Director of the Health Law Program and J.D./M.D. program at Texas Tech School of Law. Professor Bard is one of six scholars chosen for Scholars in Residence, a fellowship program of the Network and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. For her fellowship, Professor Bard is working with the City of Lubbock, TX to explore the interface between property rights and public health needs relating to nuisance and disease-spreading insects such as bed bugs and mosquitos.

Read more about Jennifer.