Network Report



Major Trends in Public Health Law Practice: A Network National Report

Since its inception in September 2010, the Network for Public Health Law has responded to hundreds of public health legal inquiries from around the country. From these inquiries, a series of major trends in public health practice and the law were analyzed, including issues concerning the Affordable Care Act, tobacco control, emergency legal preparedness, health information privacy, food policy, vaccination, drug overdose prevention, sports injury law, public health accreditation, and maternal breastfeeding. The results of our analysis were recently published in the Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics.

Read the Network National Report.

Guidelines for Public Health Advocacy

State and local agencies and federal grant recipients often have access to the best available evidence that can guide public health policy. It is therefore important for them to bring that evidence to the attention of policymakers through public health advocacy, but within the guidelines established by rules and regulations governing such activities. However, many agencies are unclear on the scope of relevant rules and regulations, and could inadvertently engage in non-permitted activities, or refrain from activities that are permitted. We’ve made a new set of resources available to agencies and can help answer questions related to current public health advocacy guidelines.

Learn more and access resources.

Current Issues in Public Health Law

Public Health Law Q&A: Regulating Bisphenol A (BPA)

Network attorney Leila Barraza authored the article, “A New Approach for Regulating Bisphenol A (BPA) for the Protection of the Public's Health," in the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics. Her article explores the health risks and current regulations of BPA, a chemical agent found in many everyday products, including canned goods and plastic food containers. In this Q&A, she explains why BPA exposure is a critical public health issue and how laws and policies can make an impact.

Read the Q&A.

Teen Pregnancy Law in Mississippi: Does it Miss the Mark?

Mississippi lawmakers recently passed a bill that will require doctors to collect umbilical cord blood from babies born to mothers who were 16 or younger at the time of conception, and conduct DNA tests to prove paternity.  The law aims to lower teen pregnancy and protect adolescents from statutory rape. Yet research evidence suggests the law may not lead to improved outcomes.

Read about Mississippi's teen pregnancy law.

Upcoming Webinars

Intimate Partner Violence as a Public Health Issue - Violence Against Women Act and other Legal Protections for Immigrant and LGBT Communities

Intimate partner violence (IPV) impacts millions of individuals across the United States, regardless of age, economic status, race, religion or education. IPV affects the physical, psychological, and emotional well-being of victims and their families. Immigrant women and individuals in same-sex relationships often lack legal protections and social support networks generally available for other victims. This webinar will address the importance of viewing intimate partner violence as a public health issue and discuss how the Violence Against Women Act and other legal remedies are used to help vulnerable populations. The webinar takes place on October, 17 at 1 p.m. ET.

Learn more and register for IPV Webinar.

Tools for Landing a Job in Public Health Law

A great opportunity for students, and new and experienced professionals looking to develop a career in public health law: Join us on Wednesday, October 9 at 1:00 p.m. ET for a presentation by Mathew Penn, J.D., Director of the Public Health Law Program at the CDC. Mr. Penn will speak about the ins and outs of job searching, including the relationship between the resume, cover letter and interview, and provide tips for success. A Q&A session will follow.

Learn more and register for career webinar.

Ask the Experts:

Mandatory Reporting

An emergency preparedness administrator from Arizona recently contacted the Network to ask for information about mandatory reporting for sexual assault on a minor. Specifically, the requestor wanted to know if Arizona state law requires a mandatory reporter to notify a patient of reporting requirements and intent to report a sexual abuse, and if such actions are required under Federal Title X grant funding.

The Network researched the issue and drafted a memo in response. Among the findings:

  • According to a letter in 2011 from the Department of Health and Human Services to Title X Family Planning Grantees, grantees are required to comply with state child abuse reporting laws. The letter emphasizes that this requirement has been in place since 1999.
  • Arizona’s child abuse reporting law requires reporting via phone and written report to law enforcement or child protective services.
  • That statute contains no language requiring the reporter to disclose either the intent to report or the actual report to the child, nor to the child’s guardian.

Contact the Network to get legal assistance.

Public Health Law Research

Study: Antibiotics Withdrawn from the Market Three Times More Often Than Other Drugs

More than 40 percent of the antibiotics released between 1980 and 2009 were withdrawn from the market for safety concerns, lack of effectiveness compared to existing drugs, and weak sales, according to the first study to evaluate the status of 30 years of antibiotic approvals by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The study, “Approval and Withdrawal of New Antibiotics and Other Antiinfectives in the US, 1980-2009,” was funded by the Public Health Law Research (PHLR) program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), and raised the questions related to the quality vs quantity of antibiotics, and whether lower quality antibiotics contribute to the growing concern of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Read more about the study.

2014 Public Health Law Research Annual Meeting

Public Health Law Research will hold its 2014 Annual Meeting in Atlanta, January 15-17, 2014. The meeting provides a forum for current PHLR grantees and others interested in the field to share research progress and findings, discuss methodological concerns and innovations, and identify effective means through which to disseminate research results to inform the practice and policy debate.

Learn more and register here.

Fellowship Opportunity for J.D.s

The Network is now accepting applications for the Visiting Attorney, Public Health Law Practice Fellowship. The program is a post- J.D. opportunity designed to develop skills and competencies in practice-based public health law. Five fellows will be placed in one-year, salaried positions at city and state government offices. J.D.s with one to two years of experience in law or public health, and an M.P.H. or equivalent public health degree or experience are encouraged to apply. The application deadline for this opportunity is October, 15.

Network People

Sharona Hoffman, J.D., LL.M., is the Edgar A. Hahn Professor of Law and a Professor of Bioethics at Case Western Reserve University. She is also the Co-Director of the Law School’s Law-Medicine Center and has been a member of the faculty since 1999. Professor Hoffman is one of six scholars chosen for Scholars in Residence, a fellowship program of the Network and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. For her fellowship project, Professor Hoffman is working with the Oregon Health Authority in Portland to develop guidance around regulating in-home care agencies and formulate effective enforcement mechanisms.

More about Sharona Hoffman and her work with the Oregon Health Authority.