Network Report



Q&A with Madeline Morcelle
Network Staff Attorney

As we prepare for the 2018 Public Health Law Conference featuring sessions focused on health justice, Network attorneys reflect on their work and what health justice means to them.


Law and Policy Perspectives:
Reducing Flu Deaths in Children through Mandatory Vaccination Laws

Of the ninety-seven children who have died from influenza since the start of the flu season in October, the CDC said that 3 out of 4 of them had not gotten a flu vaccine. Expanding mandatory flu vaccine laws for preschool aged children could significantly impact overall flu vaccination rates and reduce the number of flu related illnesses and deaths.


Thinking about Kids, Smartphones and Public Health Law

Overuse of smartphones is associated with a variety of negative health effects. As technology, our culture, and the evidence continue to evolve, public health has a role to play in educating young people, their parents, and the public about the risks and benefits of smartphone use, and in the development of laws to address the risks of excessive smartphone use and addiction.


Issue Overview: Implementing Law and Policy to Support Literacy and Reading Proficiency

Reading proficiency is foundational to educational success. However, children in households with lower incomes or lower educational attainment often experience a “word gap” in the number and variety of words they hear, and may have limited access to books. This overview examines legal and policy interventions to support literacy and reading proficiency in vulnerable populations.


Issue Overview: Identifying Legal and Policy Strategies to Promote Mental Health and Well-Being

Mental health is deeply interconnected with physical health. The law provides tools to improve health by addressing physical, social and economic factors that influence health outcomes at the population level.
This overview outlines current needs and trends in mental health promotion, including innovative legal strategies, as well as gaps where additional research and advocacy is needed.


Litigation Against Opioid Manufacturers: Lessons from the Tobacco Wars

March 15, 1:30 - 3:00 p.m. EST

Dozens of state, local, and tribal governments have sued opioid pain reliever manufacturers for their alleged role in fueling the opioid overdose epidemic, and 41 state attorneys general are investigating potential unlawful sales and marketing practices by these manufacturers. Although these investigations and lawsuits appear similar to those against the tobacco industry during the 1990s, states should be mindful of the important ways in which they differ.


Legal Technical Assistance Highlight:
Laws and Policy Resources on Gun Violence Prevention

A requester from Ohio contacted the Network about a local public health workgroup's effort to reduce youth violence in the state. One issue that had arisen was Ohio’s penalty for non-licensed firearm possession, which the requester noted did little to deter unlicensed gun possession. The requester wanted to know what policies or laws might work better to deter people from carrying unlicensed firearms.  

Worth Sharing:
Dual Use Research of Concern in the Life Sciences: Current Issues and Controversies

Denise Chrysler, Director of the Network for Public Health Law - Mid-States Region Office, was among the members of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine’s Committee on Dual Use Research of Concern: Options for Future Management. The committee’s report, published this past fall, examines the U.S. strategy for reducing biosecurity risks in life sciences research and considers mechanisms that would allow researchers to manage the dissemination of the results of research while mitigating the potential for harm to national security.

New Maps Outlining Housing and Property Laws Are Now Available On Law Atlas

Three new datasets covering housing related laws have been published on The three datasets include: State Fair Housing Protections – covers all 50 states and the District of Columbia; City Nuisance Property Ordinances – covers the 40 most populous cities in the US; and State Landlord-Tenant Laws – covers all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Thank You!
Your interest in the work of the Network is important. Together, we can advance law as a tool to improve public health. Please forward the Report and encourage others to join the Network!

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.