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Tool Emergency Legal Preparedness and Response

Public Health Decision-Making Tool

May 13, 2019


Health officials and boards of health have a duty to protect the public’s health. They have a great amount of discretion in how they fulfill this duty and must make difficult decisions around emerging threats that require balancing many factors, including the risk of acting prematurely based on limited information and the risk of delaying action until they have additional information to inform decision-making. A proper exercise of discretion involves consideration of facts known at the time, weighing options, and using professional judgment. This tool provides a checklist of key questions for public health decision-makers and practitioners to consider in making a decision whether to act or to wait based on information known at the time.