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Webinars Injury Prevention and SafetyLegal Protections for Public Health OfficialsPublic Health Authority

Public Health Under Threat: An Examination of State Laws Protecting Public Health Officials from Harassment


1:00 – 2:30 p.m. ET | June 24, 2021

Nationwide, state and local public health officials working to protect the public from COVID-19 are on the receiving end of threatening and harassing conduct for fulfilling their duty to protect the public’s health. In response, the Network conducted a 50-state survey to examine whether the states and Washington, D.C., have criminal statutes that hold accountable individuals who impede public health officials’ duties with such behavior, and created fact sheets for each state with a relevant law. Because this is an emerging issue and given the unprecedented threats aimed at government officials at every level throughout 2020 and 2021, we tracked legislative solutions during the 2021 state legislative sessions to determine whether additional protections were proposed or enacted into law. This webinar will examine these findings, analyze public health official turnover, and discuss the most common concerns and issues faced by public health officials during the pandemic.


  • Kathleen Hoke, J.D., Director, Network for Public Health Law—Eastern Region Office


  • Brooke Torton, JD, Senior Staff Attorney, Network for Public Health Law—Eastern Region Office
  • Beth Resnick, DrPH, MPH Assistant Dean for Public Health Practice and Director, MSPH in Health Policy,  Johns Hopkins University,
  • Meenakshi G. Brewster, MD, MPH, FAAFP, Health Officer, St. Mary County, Maryland

CLEs will not be offered for this webinar.