Network Report


Public Health Law and Policy Perspectives

Homelessness as a Medical Condition

In an effort to reduce the costs of treating homeless individuals with chronic medical conditions, Hawaii recently introduced legislation that would classify homelessness as a medical condition and require insurance companies to cover treatment. This reclassification allows doctors to address an issue that is often pivotal to the effective treatment of chronic health conditions of homeless individuals: safe and secure housing.

Public Health Law News Roundup—March

Some of the public health law and policy stories that made headlines in March include a call by physicians for policy changes to better address the opioid epidemic, states’ efforts on oral health care access for the elderly, the effects of gun laws on suicide rates, and a new federal law requiring water companies to notify customers of lead and other dangerous contaminants in water.

New Resource

Issue Brief: Mandatory Drug Stewardship Programs in States and Municipalities across the United States

Unused, expired and leftover medicines that accumulate in homes represent a significant public health problem by increasing the risk of drug misuse and poisonings. When disposed of improperly, unwanted medications also pose a risk to the environment. In 2010, Congress enacted the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act, which encourages the establishment of voluntary drug take-back programs that allow drugs to be disposed of at authorized facilities. Some local and municipal governments have made such programs mandatory. This Issue Brief examines mandatory drug take back programs in the United States.


The Built Environment as a Social Determinant of Health: The Role of Laws – Thursday, April 20 at 1 p.m. ET

Research shows that the built environment can have a strong influence on people’s health. This webinar, co-sponsored by the Network and the CDC’s Public Health Law Program, will explore the built environment―the places where we live, work, play and learn―and how its regulations can have an effect on health. Presenters will discuss the relationship between the built environment and health, and the role of legal tools like comprehensive plans and zoning laws in ensuring the creation and development of healthier communities.

Ask a Network Attorney

Privacy Protections and Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs

A healthcare provider from Rhode Island recently contacted the Network for information on the differences, if any, between the privacy afforded to pharmacy records and the privacy afforded to prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) information in their state.

Public Health Law Research

Health Impact Assessment and Health in All Policies Maps

Four new maps at present state-level health impact assessment (HIA) and Health in All Policies (HiAP) bills and laws that were introduced, enacted and/or amended between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2016.

Community-level policy responses to state marijuana legalization in Washington State

This study, published in the International Journal of Drug Policy, uses LawAtlas data to describe local-level marijuana regulations on recreational retail sales in a state that had legalized a recreational marijuana market.


Emergency Legal Preparedness Summit

Join public health preparedness leaders, officials and experts in an examination of the critical challenges in emergency legal preparedness and policy, including federal social distancing powers, emergency use authorizations, SNS distributions, emergency vaccine development and access, and federal-state implications for the next emerging threat. The Emergency Legal Preparedness Summit will take place on Friday, April 21 in Washington, D.C. For those unable to attend in-person, webcasts will be available.

Symposium – School Nurses: Understanding Legal Strategies for Advancing a Culture of Health in Schools

Join the Network for Public Health Law, the National Association of School Nurses, and experts in the fields of public health, law and education to explore important issues related to the role of school nursing in public health. The symposium, School Nurses: Understanding Legal Strategies for Advancing a Culture of Health in Schools, will take place on Tuesday, May 9 in Baltimore, MD.

Public Health Law Summit

On March 24, 2017, the Network for Public Health Law —Western Region hosted a one-day Public Health Law Summit in Sacramento, California in conjunction with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). The Summit brought together 180 public health and legal experts from western states and beyond to examine and discuss some of today’s most critical challenges in public health law and policy. Summit registrants represented 11 states, and included representatives from federal, state, and local government, and a wide range of educational backgrounds including JDs, MPHs, MDs, and PhDs. View the full recap.

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