Network Report



Visiting Attorney, Public Health Law Practice Fellowship

The Network for Public Health Law and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation are proud to announce the Visiting Attorney, Public Health Law Practice Fellowship. This program offers J.D.s the opportunity to develop skills and competencies in practice-based public health law that will advance their careers in the field and prepare them for employment within local, state, federal or tribal public health organizations.  Five fellows will be chosen to hold full-time, one-year appointments at one of five state and city government offices. Fellows will receive a salary plus benefits, including health coverage. J.D.s with one to two years of experience in law and/or public health, and an M.P.H. or equivalent public health degree or experience are encouraged to apply.

More about the Fellowship and how to apply.

Current Issues in Public Health Law

Public Health Leaders Petition the FDA to Act on Unregulated Tobacco Products

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009 allows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulatory power over all tobacco products, yet the FDA does not regulate any tobacco products besides cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, smokeless tobacco, and roll-your-own tobacco, as required by the law. The Tobacco Control Legal Consortium recently filed a formal Citizen Petition urging the FDA to address the gaps in regulating alternative tobacco products currently manufactured without regulatory oversight such as e-cigarettes, cigars and cigarillos. 

More about gaps in tobacco regulation.

Evidence-Based Policy and Drug Misuse

U.S. drug policy has long focused on criminalization and other forms of punishment, rather than proved medical and public health approaches, but some change is coming. This month, the HHS released an Overdose Prevention Toolkit that encourages the use of naloxone to reduce opioid overdose deaths. The Office of National Drug Control Policy declared, “The Obama Administration is implementing a science-based plan that works to reduce drug use and its consequences while pursuing drug policy reform.”

More about drug policies.

Education is Key to Increasing Breastfeeding Rates

Breastfeeding provides numerous health benefits for infants and moms, but working nursing moms face the challenge of providing breast milk to their nursing infant during the work day. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) and other laws that reduce barriers to breastfeeding

More about how the ACA helps new moms.

The Affordable Care Act and Opportunities for Public Health Departments

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the most comprehensive health reform legislation enacted by the United States in decades. On October 1, millions of uninsured Americans will use online health insurance marketplaces to compare plans and buy coverage. Though focused on improving health care access and insurance coverage, the ACA also includes a number of preventive and community health provisions that impact public health practitioners. Our issue brief outlines a number of opportunities for local health departments, including grants, collaborations with health centers, and funding for public health workforce training.

View the ACA resource.

Public Health Law Webinar: Intimate Partner Violence -- Legal Protections for Vulnerable Populations 

Intimate partner violence (IPV) impacts millions of individuals across the United States, regardless of age, economic status, race, religion or education. IPV affects the physical, psychological, and emotional well-being of victims and their families. Immigrant women and individuals in same-sex relationships often lack legal protections and social support networks generally available for other victims. This webinar will address the importance of viewing intimate partner violence as a public health issue and discuss how the Violence Against Women Act and other legal remedies are used to help vulnerable populations.

Learn more about webinar.

Ask the Experts:

Health Disparities

The Network recently received a request from a research center studying sexuality-related health disparities. The requester wanted information on how to use research information to develop an advocacy strategy that would effect legal change to benefit the health of LGBT youth.

The Network referred the requester to a number of resources that included tool kits, legal requirements and restrictions related to lobbying and advocacy, and pertinent articles on research and public policy.

See the list of resources.

Contact the Network to get legal assistance.

Public Health Law Research (PHLR)

The wildly popular Critical Opportunities for Public Health Law sessions give participants five minutes to make their case for an evidence-based legal remedy to a critical public health problem. PHLR just released 10 new Critical Opportunities videos — filmed live at various sessions. These videos are accompanied by a published article in the American Journal of Public Health that outlines the five areas where legal intervention can have big impacts on health. PHLR also released a new toolkit to help others host their own critical opportunities sessions.

Learn more about the Critical Opportunities, check out the videos, and download the toolkit.


The Future of Public Health Law Education Faculty Fellowship

Ten faculty members from law schools or schools/programs of public health will be selected to participate in a year-long fellowship program designed 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. This fellowship program is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and led by Georgia State Law and its Center for Law, Health and Society.

Get details about the Faculty Fellowship.

Network People

Mary Crossley is a Professor of Law at the University of Pittsburgh, School of Law, where she teaches courses on Bioethics, Health Care & Civil Rights, Family Law, and Torts. Professor Crossley 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 project, professor Crossley is working with the San Francisco Department of Public Health to identify chronic disease interventions most effective for the city.

More about Mary Crossley.