Many experts and advocates consider homelessness a critical public health issue. Professor James G. Hodge, Jr., director of the Network's Western Region Office, co-authored the article “Homelessness and the Public’s Health: Legal Responses” in the recently released Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics supplemental issue. In this Q&A, he discusses his article and the role of law and advocacy to ameliorate the public health impact of homelessness.
Some of the public health law and policy stories that made headlines in April include kindergartener vaccinations rates in San Diego, a measles outbreak in Minnesota, smokeless tobacco and major league ballparks, expanding Health in all Policies initiatives, banning sales of flavored tobacco products in San Francisco and more.
The symposium issue of the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics (JLME) is dedicated to examining some of the critical topics discussed at the 2016 Public Health Law Conference – Lead, Connect, Innovate: Strategies for Achieving Health Equity. Articles in this issue examine a wide range of public health law topics including vaccination policies, homelessness, access to care, health equity, and the opioid epidemic. All 21 articles are now available for download.
A community’s health depends largely on the environment in which residents live, work and play. While multiple factors influence the health of a population, the impact of environmental harms is of significant concern. Harmful environmental exposures can exacerbate already existing health disparities, especially among low income, tribal and minority populations who often suffer a disproportionate share of negative environmental impacts. This issue brief outlines existing and potential legal tools to support environmental justice, such as the use of health impact assessments, environmental reviews conducted under the National Environmental Policy Act, and grant funding to support environmental justice.
Safe and healthy housing conditions are critical to ensuring healthy populations. Join the Network and the CDC Public Health Law Program on Thursday May 18 at 1:00 p.m. ET for this webinar on the impact of housing laws and regulations on health outcomes, and how housing related legal approaches act as social determinants of health. Speakers will discuss the role of law in ensuring the availability of and access to affordable, healthy housing; and will highlight specific state and federal regulations aimed at achieving that goal.
A Michigan requestor recently asked the Network for resources and court opinions pertaining to the exclusion of unvaccinated children from school during a disease outbreak. The Network found two cases – Phillips vs. City of New York (2015) and Hill vs. Lansing Bd of Education (1923) – and one state Attorney General opinion relevant to the issue.
In the midst of the 2014 Ebola outbreak, law student Sarah Wetter entered law school to study the role of law in advancing the public’s health. Early in her experience, she gained some advice that would prove valuable through the next several years: learn to speak and think like a public health attorney. While public health may not be the vernacular of most law schools, she discovered several opportunities to gain meaningful public health exposure as a law student. Here, she shares what she found most valuable.
The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) is seeking to hire a Policy Analyst to help with activities to support tracking and responding to federal health policies and regulations as they impact Indian Country. The Policy Analyst will report to the Director of Federal Relations and will be a member of the Federal Relations Department. This is a position requiring a combination of education, experience, cultural competency and political acumen that would adequately prepare one for a senior role at a national, Tribal, non-profit organization.
The Network for Public Health Law provides information and technical assistance on issues related to public health. The legal information and assistance provided in this document does not constitute legal advice or legal representation. For legal advice, readers should consult a lawyer in their state.