New Public Health Legal Resource

Legal Toolkit for Newborn Screening Dried Blood Samples

Newborn screening is a vital public health program that detects serious medical conditions that can cause devastating effects if treatment is not given prior to the onset of symptoms. Many states retain dried blood samples (DBS) from the screening process, and these DBS have a broad range of potential uses, including program evaluation, development of new tests, public health and biomedical research, and surveillance for environmental contaminants. Developed by the Network and the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, the Policy Toolkit for Newborn Screening DBS provides state legislators and other policy-makers with a menu of options to consider as they develop policies related to the retention and secondary use of residual newborn DBS.

Guns Public Health Law and Policy Perspectives

Straight Talk on Guns and the Public’s Health:  Florida’s Firearm Owners Privacy Act

For years, doctors and other health care workers (HCWs) have recognized the value of having discussions with their patients on the risks associated with guns in the home and workplace. A recent court ruling upholds a Florida statute that places restrictions on HCWs with respect to recording and discussing gun-related safety and health risks with patients.

Healthcare workers and Vaccinations

As we approach the end of October many of us are reminded about seasonal influenza. There are many ways to avoid the flu and prevent its spread, including getting the flu vaccine. Many hospitals and health systems now require healthcare workers to get a seasonal flu vaccine, and these policies are a way to increase vaccination rates. But legal challenges to the hospital vaccine directives are not uncommon.

The 5th Vital Sign and America’s Painkiller Epidemic

The U.S. healthcare system has become much more aggressive in treating pain over the last 15 years, thanks in part to the institutionalizing of pain in the 1990s as the “5th Vital Sign” along with the four traditional vital signs: body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate. In the years since, the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs has become the leading cause of injury death in the U.S.

Upcoming Webinars

Tribal Health Data and Surveillance: The Role of Law

Tribal, state and federal laws create avenues for the collection of health data that can be used for public health surveillance. Join the Network and CDC Public Health Law Program for a webinar on Thursday, November 5, which will provide an overview of legal considerations related to health data, and discuss data access and quality, as well as the role of tribal, state and federal jurisdictions and Tribal Epidemiology Centers.

Motorcycle Helmet Laws: Innovative Approaches to Reducing Injury

Motorcycle helmets can help reduce the severity of head injuries and even the likelihood of death. Currently, 19 states and the District of Columbia have laws requiring all motorcyclists to wear a helmet, 28 states have partial helmet laws that require helmet use by young riders, and three states have no helmet law. This webinar will provide an overview of states’ motorcycle helmet laws, discuss the recent “Rider’s Choice” legislation in New Mexico, and examine the impact of helmet laws on injury and mortality rates across the country.

Ask the Experts

FDA Guidelines on Generic Medications

The Network was recently contacted about the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) guidance for generic pharmaceutical manufacturers, which recommends that generic medications have a similar appearance to the reference drug (the brand name drug of which the generic is a version). The requestor asked whether this guidance is legally binding, and if not, whether the FDA could make a rule on the matter, or if making the guidance legally binding would require legislation.


Public Health Law in a Nutshell, Second Edition

Updated to reflect modern developments through 2015 in the ever-developing public health law field, the second edition of Public Health Law in a Nutshell lays out definitive legal issues underlying core public health powers to prevent and control communicable and chronic conditions like influenza, obesity, cancer and heart disease. The text also explores legal routes to address sources of other public health threats, including tobacco and alcohol use, guns, vehicles, and defective products. Additional chapters focused on information surveillance, commercial speech regulation, the built environment, and emergency preparedness provide concise clear assessments of difficult law and policy trade-offs.

The Network @ APHA

Network Activities at the 2015 APHA Annual Meeting

If you’re attending the APHA Annual Meeting in Chicago this month, be sure to connect with Network attorneys and staff at sessions, events, and at the Network booth in the Expo. The Network is proud to sponsor the Health Law Section Reception, and we’ve organized a speed mentoring event for students attending the conference!

Career Opportunity

Public Health Attorney, Network for Public Health Law — Mid-States Region

The Network is seeking a Public Health Attorney for its Mid-States Regional Office located at the University of Michigan School of Public health. The attorney will assist in efforts to strengthen the ability of public health practitioners, counsel, and other stakeholders to use law efficiently and effectively to protect and promote population health. Attorneys in good standing of the Bar of a U.S. jurisdiction, with 3-5 years of experience in providing either legal counsel or technical legal support in public health law are encouraged to apply.

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