Public Health Law Blog

Michigan Becomes First State to Ban Flavored E-Cigarettes

posted on Tue, Sep 10 2019 1:47 pm by Jennifer Bernstein

In response to a recent outbreak of e-cigarette associated respiratory illnesses, Michigan’s Chief Medical Officer has declared a public health emergency and the Governor has issued emergency rules banning the sale of flavored e-cigarettes. The ban is effective immediately, although businesses have 30 days to comply. The ban will last for six months and can be renewed for another six months.

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Civil Rights Law and the Determinants of Health: How Some States Have Utilized Civil Rights Laws to Increase Protections against Discrimination

posted on Tue, Sep 10 2019 1:36 pm by Dawn Pepin and Samantha Bent Weber

One fundamental barrier to eliminating health disparities, particularly with regard to the determinants of health, is the persistence of discrimination. Civil rights law is the primary legal mechanism used to address discrimination. In this Q&A, the authors of this article from the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics highlight examples of how some states are using civil rights laws to combat discrimination, particularly in more expansive ways and in the interest of new populations, presenting tools that can target determinants and address the goal of reducing health disparities.

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Social-Emotional Learning Improves Children's Health Outcomes (and Other Reasons Public Health Should Take Notice)

posted on Tue, Sep 10 2019 12:43 pm by Jill Krueger

Social and emotional learning (SEL) has emerged as a powerful framework for the development of programs and interventions designed to increase high school graduation rates, lower absenteeism, and improve academic performance. SEL competencies are highly correlated with desirable public health outcomes, offering a prime opportunity for health departments.

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Providing Policy Expertise as Maryland Explores the Challenges of Recreational Marijuana Legalization

posted on Wed, Aug 28 2019 1:27 pm by Mathew Swinburne

In 2019, 27 states introduced legislation to legalize recreational marijuana but only one, Illinois, was successful in passing a law.  The Network’s Mathew Swinburne participated in a legislative workgroup in Maryland tasked with studying critical aspects of marijuana legalization and shares valuable insights that can help jurisdictions better understand the public health, law and policy implications.

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Congressional Efforts to Address Maternal Morbidity and Mortality

posted on Tue, Aug 27 2019 4:19 pm by Daniel Young

The United States is experiencing a crisis of maternal morbidity and mortality. Sixty percent of the roughly 700 deaths from pregnancy-related complications each year are considered preventable. In response, lawmakers have introduced a host of legislation aimed at improving maternal health and reducing the maternal mortality rate, particularly among those groups that are disproportionately impacted, including black and Hispanic mothers.

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Striving for Health Equity through Medical, Public Health, and Legal Collaboration

posted on Tue, Aug 27 2019 9:37 am by Joel B. Teitelbaum, Joanna Theiss, and Colleen Healy Boufides

The connection between health and social factors like housing, food security, education and exposure to violence is clear. So, too, are the challenges faced by a health care system that is increasingly expected to address these connections despite the disconnection between treating individual symptoms and participating in population-level strategies to reduce barriers to good health. In this Q&A, the authors of this article from the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics explore how partnerships among health, public health, and legal experts are essential to addressing the upstream causes of poor health.

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How the “Health at Every Size” Movement Can Help Inform the Public Health Conversation on Obesity

posted on Tue, Aug 13 2019 9:25 am by Erica N. White and Leila Barraza

The popular social justice movement Health at Every Size focuses on health improvement as the goal, irrespective to weight loss, and advocates for social acceptance of all body sizes, including morbid obesity. With obesity prevalence at an all-time high in the U.S., some public health officials are concerned that persons who view obesity as healthy are less likely to lose weight, increasing their risks for many chronic health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.

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Equity in Action: Operationalizing Processes in State Governance

posted on Tue, Aug 13 2019 9:17 am by Susan Weisman, Karen Ben-Moshe, Sarah Hernandez and Vayong Moua

The Journal of Law Medicine and Ethics recently published a special supplement with articles exploring critical topics discussed at the 2018 National Public Health Law Conference. In this Q&A, the co-authors of the article, “Equity in Action: Operationalizing Processes in State Governance” discuss their article, which examines efforts to embed an equity lens in legislated and non-legislated policies and practices in three states and describes progress and lessons learned and offers guidance to others.

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By Treating Alcohol as an Ordinary Commodity, the Supreme Court Has Likely Opened the Door to More Legal Challenges

posted on Tue, Aug 13 2019 9:12 am by Elyse R. Grossman

Excessive alcohol use is responsible for approximately 88,000 deaths every year, among many other health risks, and research shows that the more readily available alcohol is in a community, the greater the negative impacts. The U.S. Supreme Court recently overturned a Tennessee law regulating the distribution of alcohol, a move that many public health advocates fear is likely to be a harbinger of more restrictions on state and local government ability to regulate alcohol for health or safety purposes.

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A Quiet Epidemic: Solving Incidences of Vehicular Heatstroke

posted on Thu, Aug 1 2019 10:30 am by Hannah-Kaye Fleming and James G. Hodge, Jr.

Since 1988 there have been 4,500 documented cases of children endangered because a parent or guardian left them unattended in a parked car. More than 36 children die annually across America each year from vehicular heatstroke. Federal law has been introduced to prevent these tragic deaths, but stronger state laws can also help protect children.

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