Since mid-2015, Brazil has reported over 4,100 cases of the birth defect microcephaly in babies – a drastic increase from previous years where the average number of cases per year is less than 200. The rise in microcephaly, a condition that causes babies to be born with a shrunken head and brain, is linked initially to pregnant mothers infected with the Zika virus, transmitted through mosquitos. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently identified 22 countries in the Americas with active transmissions of the virus and advised people, especially pregnant women, to avoid traveling to those countries. Our primer outlines the public health concerns related to the Zika virus, and lays out current and anticipated legal preparedness and response issues.
In 2014, while under the control of an emergency manager appointed by the State of Michigan, Flint changed its source of water to the Flint River in a cost-cutting measure. Subsequently, elevated lead levels were detected in Flint's children, resulting in state and local emergency declarations. There are a number of lessons public health practitioners, leaders and policymakers can take away from this crisis.
Fatal drug overdose is a nationwide epidemic that claims the lives of an increasing number of Americans every year – over 47,000 in 2014. In Connecticut, nearly 275 people died from heroin overdoses in 2014. A generic medication called naloxone can help prevent overdose if administered in time. This resource examines how Connecticut has amended its laws to increase access to naloxone.
The USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) is responsible for ensuring the safety of the over tens of billions of pounds of meat and poultry that is sold in the U.S. each year. In this February 25 webinar, leaders at FSIS will provide an overview of the agency and some of its important programs and services, with a focus on the Office of Public Health and Science and its role in preventing and responding to foodborne disease outbreaks. The webinar will also examine how FSIS conducts and monitors recalls of meat and poultry products. CLE credits are available to some attendees.
Four pre-conference workshops are offered at the 2016 Public Health Law Conference, taking place September 15 – 17 in Washington, D.C. These workshops will provide hands-on training, best practices, tools and resources on health data sharing, policy surveillance, and public health law teaching. Additionally, students and young professionals will have the opportunity to learn about the field of public health law and connect with experienced leaders.
Those in public health are often faced with a myriad of legal and policy issues when protecting the health of their communities. Every year the Network answers hundreds of questions from public health departments, government officials, policymakers and advocates ― and we provide this legal technical assistance at no cost. Network attorneys can help with questions about public health legal preparedness and response to the Zika virus, the Flint water crisis and local government powers, legal interventions to drug overdose, food safety, and other pressing issues.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s program, Policies for Action (P4A), has launched its first call for proposals with the goal to help build an evidence base for policies that can lead to a Culture of Health. P4A seeks to engage long-standing health and health care researchers, as well as experts in fields like housing, education, transportation, and the built environment, to name a few, who have not worked in health before. The research funded under this call for proposals should inform the significant gaps in our knowledge regarding what policies can serve as levers to improve population health and well-being, and achieve greater levels of health equity.
The GHJP's Collaboration for Research Integrity and Transparency (CRIT) is now accepting applications for four key staff members. CRIT is a new interdisciplinary initiative, jointly led by the GHJP, the Media Freedom & Information Access Clinic (MFIA), and the Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation (CORE) at Yale-New Haven Hospital. The GHJP is seeking a program director, two research and advocacy fellows, and a staff attorney.