Network Report
Thursday, May 23, 2019

There are millions of children who need a healthy breakfast but aren’t getting one. Data shows that approximately half as many low-income children participate in the National School Breakfast Program (12 million) as participate in the National School Lunch Program (22 Million). States have recognized this challenge and are developing policies to address the logistical, social, and economic barriers to student participation in the National School Breakfast Program. The following resources examine current states’ policies and approaches.

Issue Brief: Summary of State Laws Addressing the School Breakfast Gap

The “school breakfast gap” is a missed opportunity for low-income school students to start their day with a healthy meal, which is proven to improve academic success and health outcomes. This issue brief examines the framework of the National School Lunch Program and the National School Breakfast Program, the school breakfast gap and its subsequent public health impacts, and the most prevalent state interventions to bridge the breakfast gap.

50-State Survey of State Laws Addressing the School Breakfast Gap

States are working to remedy the “school breakfast gap” for low income children, which worsens food insecurity, and is associated with impaired mental and emotional development in children, difficulties with learning, and a host of chronic health conditions. This resource surveys state policies in regard to six critical interventions aimed at increasing the number of children receiving a healthy school breakfast. 

Law and Policy Perspectives:

Dementia Reimagined: Essential Insights and a Call for Supportive Laws and Policies

A 2018 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the U.S. burden of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias will double by 2060. Responding to this national public health crisis of the mind facing millions of Americans and their families is essential. A recently released book, Dementia Reimagined, chronicles multiple opportunities to positively intervene in the lives of patients with dementia and their caregivers, and calls for national, state and local policy reforms to address deficiencies in the care and treatment of dementia.

Alcohol-related Motor Vehicle Fatalities Involving Children: Are Child Endangerment Laws Failing Us?

One in five child passenger fatalities in the U.S. involve an impaired driver, most commonly the child’s own driver. Forty-six states and D.C. have child endangerment statutes that impose special sanctions for driving under the influence while transporting a child. Despite the widespread use of such laws, studies of their effectiveness suggest they may not be effective in preventing alcohol-related child fatalities in motor vehicle crashes, primarily due to low public awareness and lax enforcement.


Measles Outbreak: Public Health Authority, New York City's Immunization Mandate, and the Current Legislative Landscape

June 4, 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. EST

The U.S. is experiencing its highest number of measles cases in 25 years and researchers anticipate additional outbreaks, with Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami listed among the cities at high risk. Some states have moved to prohibit all vaccine exemptions while other are considering it. Other jurisdictions have taken more urgent actions, including New York City, which ordered mandatory vaccination. Join us to examine New York City’s emergency measures, public health’s authority in vaccination requirements, and current efforts to make legislative changes in under-immunized states.

Advancing the Community Health Worker Workforce through Law and Policy

June 20, 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. EST

Community health workers (CHWs) are key members of health care teams and the public health workforce and, with their intimate understanding of the communities they serve, are uniquely suited to help address root causes of poor health. For marginalized and poor communities, CHWs are a critical link to health care. As the CHW workforce grows, continuously evolving state laws and policies have the potential to improve public understanding of the CHW role and facilitate sustainable financing for CHWs.


Network Attorneys Among List of Honorees Recognized by the de Beaumont Foundation's "40 Under 40 in Public Health"

The newly created “40 Under 40 in Public Health” list from the de Beaumont Foundation recognizes young professionals in public health who are strengthening communities with new ideas, creative problem-solving, and innovative solutions. The Network is proud to announce Deputy Directors Colleen Healy Boufides and Corey Davis are among the professionals recognized on this list; Colleen for her role in the development of a comprehensive legal analysis of the Flint water crisis to prevent future crises and improve legal preparedness, and Corey for work on law and policy to address the opioid epidemic through syringe access programs and by expanding access to naloxone.

Worth Sharing:

Federal and State Income Security Laws for Children with Disabilities

Two new legal maps on provide details on government programs available to children with disabilities and their families: the federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and the state supplemental payment (SSP) programs. The datasets capture and analyze key features of social security laws over 22 years, from January 1, 1996 through November 1, 2018, including eligibility requirements and exemptions, benefit rates and rate calculations, and which state entities are responsible for administering SSP programs.

New Federal Religious Refusals Rule Puts Beliefs of Providers Above Patient Care

The Trump administration recently released a rule that allows health care providers to refuse care to patients whose requests for services may offend their religious or moral beliefs. This post from the National Health Law Program examines the troubling implications of the rule for women’s health and the health of those from marginalized communities.

Job Opportunities:

Deputy General Counsel
Massachusetts Bureau of Health Care Quality

The Office of the General Counsel for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health is seeking a Deputy General Counsel to advise the Bureau of Health Care Quality on regulatory, contractual, and compliance matters. This attorney will primarily provide legal services to Department staff regarding regulatory and programmatic oversight of emergency medical services and licensed health care facilities, including hospitals and clinics.

Deputy General Counsel
Massachusetts Office of Preparedness and Emergency Management, the Bureau of Family Health and Nutrition, and the Bureau of Community Health and Prevention

The Office of the General Counsel for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health is seeking a Deputy General Counsel to advise the Office of Preparedness and Emergency Management, the Bureau of Family Health and Nutrition, and the Bureau of Community Health and Prevention on regulatory, contractual, and compliance matters. The Deputy General Counsel will be responsible for drafting and reviewing regulations; coordinating legal support for enforcement activities; providing legal advice regarding public record requests, state and federal subpoenas and court orders; serving as liaison with federal agencies and the Office of the Attorney General as needed.

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 Network 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.