On December 19, 2012, the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation jointly issued their 10th annual Ready or Not? Protecting the Public from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism report. The report tracks 10 key indicators of public health preparedness across all 50 states and Washington D.C. Despite significant progress in public health preparedness over the past decade, the report identified significant challenges that threaten to undermine preparedness efforts, notably including severe budget cuts at all levels of government. Several key findings also touch on core legal issues in public health, including the need to renew outdated federal authority to respond to emergencies under the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA) of 2006; incomplete adoption of state-based cross-jurisdictional licensing agreements such as the Nurse Licensure Compact; mandatory Medicaid coverage of flu shots without co-pays (something which many private insurers now provide via the Affordable Care Act); and the potential public health impacts on vaccination rates of laws allowing exemptions concerning diseases like pertussis and flu.
Although the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed in 2010 and upheld by the Supreme Court in 2012, many of its implementing regulations are still being promulgated, and parts of it continue to be attacked. Join us on Thursday, January 17 at 1 p.m. ET for a webinar exploring the ACA — its history, current challenges and future impact. Get a detailed look at the Supreme Court decision and ongoing lawsuits challenging the ACA, along with a broad overview of what the election means for the ACA at the federal level. Also learn about the ACA’s initiatives that impact public health, and get an “on the ground” look at how the ACA is being implemented at the state and local level, as well as suggestions for actions health departments can take in light of its passage and the current political environment. Details here.
The second webinar in the “Advancing Injury Prevention through Policy” series focuses on youth concussion laws, and will explore preliminary results from an interview survey with state officials and organizational leaders charged with implementation of these laws in their states. Three presenters with different organizational perspectives will share their experiences implementing the laws. The webinar takes place on Thursday, January 24 at 2:30 p.m. ET. Details here. The Injury Prevention webinar series is a joint effort between the Network for Public Health Law and the Children’s Safety Network.
Only a handful of states have made vaccination mandatory for health care workers, but the public debate over this requirement is getting increasingly heated. Mandatory vaccinations can potentially reduce the number of people getting sick and dying from seasonal influenza; however, some see the policy as an infringement on individual rights and freedoms. Network attorney Chris Walker explores both sides of the debate, and suggests how some concerns can be addressed by the public health community. Read more.
In the wake of the horrific mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, many people expressed ideas about how to prevent future tragedies like this from reoccurring. Leila Barraza, Deputy Director of the Network’s Western Region explores a number of potential solutions, including mental illness screenings, firearm bans and increased school security. While options are varied, one thing is clear: the public health law community will play a vital role in developing and evaluating policies. Read more.
Last year, the World Health Organization released a report that linked noise pollution to serious health issues such as coronary heart disease. The report also claimed that children exposed to loud noises experienced cognitive impairment, hypertension and elevated stress levels. Monica Hammer, Visiting Attorney at the Network’s Mid-States Region examines the health impact of noise pollution, the current legal framework used to address it, and the need for more comprehensive policy. Read more.
Domestic violence affects millions of individuals across the United States, regardless of age, economic status, race or sexual orientation. Laws can offer protection for victims of domestic violence; however, many states’ domestic violence laws treat same-sex couples differently. This 50-state resource provides detailed information on coverage of domestic violence laws and application of civil protective orders to same-sex couples. Network senior attorney Cristina Meneses recently updated the resource and added a master list of same-sex domestic violence protections.
The Network recently received a request from a state health official working on the Safe Routes to School initiative within his state. Launched in 2005, Safe Routes to School provides federal funding to statedepartments of transportation to establish programs aimed at improving the safety of walking and bicycling paths to schools. The requestor wanted to learn about safe route policies implemented by other communities and states.
The Network researched policies in several states, and provided the requestor with several state-specific, comprehensive resources.
Contact the Network to get legal assistance.
The American Public Health Association (APHA) Law Section’s Call for Abstracts is now open for the 2013 APHA Annual Meeting, held November 2-6, 2013, in Boston, MA. The Law Section sessions provide an opportunity to present research and analysis of topics related to public health law and policy, domestic and international health law, and human rights law. Learn more about this opportunity and how to submit an abstract. The deadline for submissions is February 4, 2013. Also, if you are interested in serving as a peer reviewer for abstracts, please contact Kerri McGowan Lowrey at email@example.com. Please note that effective January 1, 2013, APHA members can add a second section or SPIG affiliation without additional charge. Go here to add the Law Section or contact APHA's Membership department at (202) 777-2400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This 12-month fellowship is a collaborative program between the FDA Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM), and is a great opportunity for mid-level career professionals. Fellows actively participate in the development of science-based public health strategies, serve as the lead for defined projects, meet with policy leaders, and develop new competencies, including new knowledge, skills, and experiences related to tobacco products and their use, which is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Details here.
Leila Barraza is deputy director at the Network’s Western Region. Leila received her J.D., with a Certificate in Law, Science and Technology, in 2008 from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. She was a Center Scholar and served as a research assistant, conducting legal research on autism and vaccine-related litigation. Prior to attending law school, Leila received a Master in Public Health from the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona. Read more
Leila recently wrote about the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, and how the public health law community has a vital role to play as policies are created and implemented to protect the public and prevent such tragedies in the future. Read Leila’s blog.
Join the Network to receive the Network Report every other week.
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.