Back to Resources

Public Health Law Career Tool

posted on Mon, Jan 5 2015 2:04 pm by The Student Network for Public Health Law

Explore potential career paths in public health law. Click on a category to get started.


Government

FEDERAL

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The CDC has positions in various divisions that are frequently filled by attorneys or policy specialists. The Public Health Law Program develops law-related tools and provides legal technical assistance to public health leaders and policy-makers. Learn more about career opportunities with the CDC.
Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
CMS administers Medicare, Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program in partnership with the states. Learn more about careers at CMS.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
The FDA is charged with protecting the safety of much of the nation's food supply, as well as the safety of cosmetics and human and veterinary drugs. FDA also regulates medical devices and tobacco products. Get information on working with the FDA.
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
The mission of HRSA is to improve access to health care services among uninsured, isolated and medically vulnerable people. Learn more about career opportunities with HRSA.
Indian Health Service (IHS)
IHS provides individual health care and public health services to American Indians and Alaska Natives. Learn more about career opportunities with IHS.
Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
OCR protects fundamental rights of nondiscrimination and privacy by enforcing federal civil rights laws and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule. Learn more about career opportunities at OCR.
Office of the General Counsel (OGC)
OGC provides legal advice and representation on a wide range of matters pertaining to public health. Learn more about career opportunities at OGC.

Department of Agriculture (USDA)

The USDA provides leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition, and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management. Learn more about career opportunities at the USDA.

Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life, and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination. Learn more about career opportunities at HUD.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

EPA pursues its mission of protecting human health and the environment by working to accomplish five strategic goals: (1) taking action on climate change and improving air quality, (2) protecting America's waters, (3) cleaning up communities and advancing sustainable development, (4) ensuring the safety of chemicals and preventing pollution, and (5) enforcing environmental laws. Learn more about career opportunities at EPA.

STATE

State Attorneys General

The attorney general's office is one of a few common places from which state health officials generally obtain legal advice. View a list of each state's current Attorney General from the National Association of Attorneys General.

State Departments of Health

State health officials commonly obtain legal advice from attorneys located within the health department. Learn more about a particular department by selecting a state from the CDC's map of state and territorial health departments.

Other

While state health departments and attorney general's offices are common locations for public health law professionals, avoid limiting your search to only the most conventional "legal" jobs. There are many great opportunities that do not specifically call for attorneys in state government, so use tools such as the state's human resources or civil services department to find a list of job classifications. Watch for positions and departments that include keywords like "policy analyst", "compliance", "enforcement", "regulatory", "environmental protection" and "labor", among many others.

LOCAL

Local Health Departments

Most local health departments receive legal assistance from one of three sources: an attorney at the state level, the city or county attorney's office or a law firm on retainer to the local government. Contact a local health department to ask about how they obtain legal advice and whether they provide internships. View a directory of local health departments provided by NAACHO.

Other

While local health departments are common locations for public health law professionals, avoid limiting your search to only the most conventional "legal" jobs. There are many great opportunities that do not specifically call for attorneys in local government, so use tools such as the state's human resources or civil services department to find a list of job classifications. Watch for positions and departments that include keywords like "policy analyst", "compliance", "enforcement", "regulatory", "environmental protection" and "labor", among many others.

INTERNATIONAL

World Health Organization (WHO)

The World Health Organization is a part of the United Nations and is charged with the responsibility of providing leadership on public health at a global level. Among other things, it provides technical assistance to member countries and articulates evidence-based policy options. Visit WHO's general Employment webpage and take a look at their Internship Programme and Junior Professional Programme.

United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

USAID provides career opportunities in both the civil service and the foreign service. USAID’s mission is to provide humanitarian assistance and support economic development around the world. Global health is a core program area. Learn more about careers with USAID. USAID also provides information about student internships and fellowships.

Non-Profit & Academia

GENERAL

The following non-profit organizations work to support public health goals through a variety of activities that do not include advocating for particular policies or laws, such as policy analysis, technical assistance, education, resource development and training, among others.

*Note:
The following is a sample of relevant organizations; it is not an exhaustive list.

ChangeLab Solutions

ChangeLab Solutions employs an interdisciplinary team of lawyers, urban planners, architects, policy analysts, and public health specialists to work on issues such as land use and transportation planning, childhood obesity prevention, tobacco control, food systems, school environments, among others. ChangeLab specializes in researching and drafting model laws and policies, providing analysis and recommendations on environmental change strategies, developing educational toolkits and fact sheets, and providing on-demand training and technical assistance to support stakeholders in their policy reform efforts. Learn more about career opportunities at ChangeLab.
National Policy & Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity (NPLAN)
NPLAN is a program of ChangeLab Solutions that provides technical assistance on legal and policy questions related to healthy eating and active living. NPLAN works on four broad issues areas: healthy community food systems, healthy schools, healthy land use planning, and food marketing.

Clinton Foundation

The Clinton Foundation builds partnerships between businesses, NGOs, governments, and individuals everywhere to work faster, better, and leaner; to find solutions that last, and to transform lives and communities from what they are today to what they can be, tomorrow. The Foundation's work spans a vast array of issues, including improving global health, increasing opportunity for women and girls, reducing childhood obesity and preventable diseases, creating economic opportunity and growth, and helping communities address the effects of climate change. Learn more about career opportunities with the Clinton Foundation.

Network for Public Health Law

The Network for Public Health Law provides legal assistance, resources and opportunities to build connections for local, tribal, state and federal officials; public health practitioners; attorneys; policy-makers; and advocates.

Public Health Law Center

The Public Health Law Center is a national non-profit organization of law and policy specialists that help health leaders, officials and advocates use the law to advance public health.

ADVOCACY & SPECIFIC-ISSUE

Advocacy and specific-issue organizations may work on a range of public health issues or on specific issues. Their work may include advocating for particular policies and laws, and consistent with funding sources, engaging in grass roots organizing and lobbying. The organizations below work to support public health goals through advocacy, litigation, policy analysis and research, technical assistance, resource development, education and training, among other activities.

*Note:
The following is a sample of relevant organizations; it does not represent an exhaustive list.

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) AIDS Project

The ACLU AIDS Project uses impact litigation, public education and advocacy at the state and federal level to fight discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS. Learn more about career opportunities at the ACLU AIDS Project.

Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law

The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law works to protect and advance the rights of adults and children who have mental disabilities. The Bazelon Center pursues a progressive mental health policy agenda, and policy staff promote the Center's goals through federal legislation and regulation, policy analysis and research, and technical assistance to state and local advocates. Bazelon Center attorneys provide technical support on legal matters and serve as co-counsel on selected lawsuits with private lawyers, legal services programs, ACLU chapters, and state protection and advocacy systems. Get more information on career opportunities with the Bazelon Center.

Center for Food Safety

The Center for Food Safety is a national non-profit public interest and environmental advocacy organization working to protect human health and the environment by curbing the use of harmful food production technologies and by promoting organic and other forms of sustainable agriculture. Learn more about career opportunities with the Center for Food Safety.

Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)

CSPI seeks to educate the public, advocate government policies that are consistent with scientific evidence on health and environmental issues, and counter industry’s powerful influence on public opinion and public policies. Learn more about career opportunities at CSPI.

National Center for Medical Legal Partnership

The National Center for Medical Legal Partnership aims to build a better healthcare team that can identify, treat and prevent the health-harming needs of patients, clinics and populations.

The National Health Law Program (NHeLP)

NHeLP protects and advances the health rights of low-income and underserved individuals and families, through advocacy, education and litigation at the federal and state levels. Learn more about job opportunities at NHeLP.

National Indian Health Board (NIHB)

NIHB represents Tribal governments and provides a variety of services to tribes, Area Health Boards, Tribal organizations, federal agencies, and private foundations, including: advocacy, policy formation and analysis, legislative and regulatory tracking, direct and timely communication with tribes, research on Indian health issues, program development and assessment, training and technical assistance programs and project management. Learn more about career opportunities at NIHB.

Public Health Advocacy Institute (PHAI)

PHAI is a legal research center focused on public health law. Its goal is to support and enhance a commitment to public health in individuals and institutes who shape public policy through law. PHAI pursues its goals through research, policy development, legal technical assistance and collaborative work at the intersection of law and public health. Current areas of focus include tobacco control and childhood obesity.

Tobacco Control Legal Consortium

The Tobacco Control Legal Consortium is a legal network for tobacco control policy that works to assist communities with tobacco law-related issues, drawing on experts in its eight affiliated legal centers. The Consortium's team of legal and policy specialists provides legislative drafting and policy assistance to community leaders and public health organizations.

MEMBERSHIP

Membership organizations offer individuals participation in a community, often specific to a type of job or professional field. Such organizations may work on similar issues to other types of non-profits, but one of their central goals is supporting the interests and work of their members.

*Note:
The following is a sample of relevant organizations; it does not represent an exhaustive list.

American Public Health Association (APHA)

APHA champions the health of all people and all communities. It strengthen the profession of public health, shares the latest research and information, promotes best practices and advocates for public health issues and policies grounded in research. Learn more about career opportunities at APHA and check out their Public Health CareerMart for information on other public health jobs.

Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO)

ASTHO is the national nonprofit organization representing public health agencies in the United States, the U.S. Territories, and the District of Columbia, and over 100,000 public health professionals these agencies employ. ASTHO's primary function is to track, evaluate, and advise members on the impact and formation of public or private health policy which may affect them and to provide them with guidance and technical assistance on improving the nation's health. Learn more about career opportunities at ASTHO.

National Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (NAACHO)

NAACHO's members are the 2700 local health departments across the United States. NACCHO’s vision is health, equity, and security for all people in their communities through public health policies and services. NACCHO’s mission is to be a leader, partner, catalyst, and voice for local health departments in order to ensure the conditions that promote health and equity, combat disease, and improve the quality and length of all lives. Learn more about career opportunities at NAACHO and in the public health field generally with NAACHO's Career Network.

GRANTMAKING

The foundations and other grantmaking organizations listed below work to achieve public health goals through a variety of activities, some part of which is the provision of funding to support the work of grantee organizations.

*Note:
The following is a sample of relevant organizations; it does not represent an exhaustive list.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)

RWJF is the nation's largest philanthropy devoted solely to the public's health. Its mission is improving the health and health care of all Americans by creating a culture of health which enables all members of society to lead healthy lives. Acknowledging that health is connected to education, housing, employment, environment and other issues, RWJF aims to provide all Americans with opportunities to live healthy, productive lives by identifying and supporting evidence-based, measurable, and equitable initiatives. RWJF offers career opportunities in program development; communications; research-evaluation-earning; and positions in administration, finance and technology.

Gates Foundation

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Learn more about career opportunities at the Gates Foundation.

RESEARCH

Research organizations are characterized by their focus on developing research to support public health goals. While the organizations below prioritize research, many also engage in other activities.

*Note:
This list represents a sample of relevant organizations and is not comprehensive.

O'Neill Institute for National & Global Health Law

The O'Neill Institute for National & Global Health Law contributes to a deeper understanding of the ways in which law can be used to improve health and hopes to encourage decision-makers in the public, private, and civil sectors to employ the law as a positive tool to enable individuals and populations to lead healthier lives. The O'Neill Institute utilizes an integrated approach that combines scholarship, research projects, and capacity building and that focuses on seven thematic areas: food and drug law, global health governance, healthcare, health and human rights, infectious diseases, non-communicable diseases, and trade, investment and health. Learn more about career opportunities at the O'Neill Institute.

National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI)

NNPHI was created in 2001 as a forum for public health institutes and convenes its members and partners at the local, state, and national levels in efforts to address critical health issues. Dedicated to the vision of improving public health through innovation, NNPHI is the national membership network committed to helping public health institutes (PHIs) promote and sustain improved health and wellness for all. Learn more about career opportunities at NNPHI.

Pew Charitable Trusts

The Pew Charitable Trusts is a global research and public policy organization dedicated to serving the public. Informed by its' founders interest in research, practical knowledge and a robust democracy, Pew's portfolio has grown over time to include public opinion research; arts and culture; and environmental, health, state and consumer policy initiatives. Pew's work lays the foundation for effective policy solutions by informing and engaging citizens, linking diverse interests to pursue common cause and insisting on tangible results. Pew partners with a diverse range of donors, public and private organizations and concerned citizens who share its interest in fact-based solutions and goal-driven investments to improve society. Learn more about career opportunities at Pew.

Public Health Law Research (PHLR)

PHLR is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that is dedicated to building the evidence base for laws that improve public health. PHLR funds research, improves research methods, and makes evidence more accessible to policy-makers, the media, and the public.

Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity

The Rudd Center assesses, critiques, and strives to improve practices and policies related to nutrition and obesity so as to inform and empower the public, to promote objective, science-based approaches to policy, and to maximize the impact on public health. The Rudd Center conducts cutting-edge research and acts as a clearinghouse for resources that add to our understanding of the complex forces affecting how we eat, how we stigmatize overweight and obese people, and how we can change. It is also a leader in building broad-based consensus to change diet and activity patterns, while holding industry and government agencies responsible for safeguarding public health. Learn more about career opportunities at the Rudd Center.

ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS

Law Schools

Law schools may provide opportunities for public health lawyers and public health policy specialists to serve as professors. For more information on specific schools, check out the American Bar Association's list of ABA-approved law schools.

Schools of Public Health

Schools of public health may provide opportunities for public health lawyers and public health policy specialists to serve as professors. For more information on specific schools, check out ASPPH's list of accredited public health schools and programs.

Private Sector

Private law firms, consulting firms and other businesses may provide opportunities to practice public health law. In some instances, government entities may retain private attorneys or law firms for ongoing representation or for major litigation.

HEALTH CARE/HEALTH INSURANCE PROVIDERS

Health care and health insurance providers may have positions that require or benefit from public health law and policy knowledge. Such positions may fall under the rubric of “community engagement,” as nonprofit hospitals must engage in a community health needs assessment in order to retain nonprofit status with the Internal Revenue Service. Health care and health insurance providers may seek to have attorneys or public health policy specialists participate in collaborative efforts to assess and meet the needs of the community.

TORT LITIGATORS

Indirect regulation through the tort system has been called one of the basic models of legal intervention in public health.Tort litigation by private attorneys has contributed to public health in a number of ways. For example, it has advanced environmental health by ordering remediation of pollution and it has prevented disease and injury by imposing liability for the sale of unsafe foods and defective products.

CONSULTING FIRMS/OTHER

An array of consulting firms and other private companies provide services to federal, state and local government as well as other public health organizations. These services may include policy assessment and research, program evaluation, technical assistance and data collection and analysis, among others.

*Note:
The following is a sample of relevant organizations; it does not represent an exhaustive list.

Lewin Group

The Lewin Group is a healthcare consulting firm that provides policy research, data analysis, health program evaluation, strategic planning and technical assistance, among other services. The Lewin Group serves a variety of clients, including federal, state and local government agencies, hospitals, health systems, and providers, pharmaceutical and biomedical companies, foundations and associations. Learn more about career opportunities at Lewin.

MayaTech Corporation

The MayaTech Corporation a small business consulting and technical services firm with a focus on supporting the improvement of public health delivery systems to local, national, and international populations in high need. MayaTech provides both public and private sector clients with a number of services, including training and technical assistance, research and evaluation support services, and information development, management, and dissemination. Learn more about career opportunities at MayaTech.

Mathematica Policy Research

Mathematica has been conducting policy research and assessing the effectiveness of policy measures for over forty years. Staff at six different national offices serve a variety of clients, including federal agencies, state and local governments, foundations, universities, professional associations, and businesses. Mathematica's services include program evaluation, policy research and interpretation, survey design and data collection, and comprehensive performance measurement and data management. Learn more about career opportunities at Mathematica.

SciMetrika

SciMetrika works to advance human health by serving a broad range of clients with a stake in improving the health of given populations. SciMetrika's services include data collection and analysis, program development, implementation and evaluation and technical assistance, among others. Learn more about career opportunities at SciMetrika.

Join the Student Network to receive email updates on other career resources and opportunities.