Network Report

1/22/15

Current Issues in Public Health Law

Public Health in the Courts: School Exclusion of Unvaccinated Children

New York’s requirement that unvaccinated children be temporarily excluded from school during an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease was challenged in court recently by parents who argued that the regulation violated their constitutional rights. While the courts upheld New York’s requirement, the case has implications for public health.

More on NY’s court case and temporary exclusion laws.

Video Directly Observed Therapy for TB: Legal and Practical Issues

Video directly observed therapy (VDOT) can be an innovative and effective means to monitor patient adherence to tuberculosis treatment regimens. While there is growing interest by local health departments in utilizing VDOT, legal issues related to permissibility, patient health records and privacy must be considered.

Read more about VDOT and TB treatment.

Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act

Newborn screening is an important public health program that detects rare but serious genetic and metabolic disorders before symptoms appear. Blood is collected from newborns for routine screening, and many states allow residual blood specimens (known as dried blood spots or “DBS”) to be used for research. But a new federal law restricts the release of residual DBS for research use.

Learn about the new law and its restrictions.

New Resources

Drug Overdose Prevention in Pennsylvania

Drug overdose rates in Pennsylvania have increased by 89 percent since 1999, and in 2011 it had the country’s 14th highest overdose mortality rate. That rate continues to climb, increasing by a startling 23 percent between 2010 and 2012. This fact sheet examines Pennsylvania's recently passed legislation which expands access to the overdose-reversing drug naloxone and contains other measures aimed at preventing drug overdose deaths.

More on Pennsylvania’s overdose legislation.

Teen Driving Safety

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. Required driver’s education and graduated driver’s licensing are two legal strategies that can improve the safety of young drivers on the road. Our new set of resources looks at current laws aimed at reducing teen driver accidents and fatalities in 11 Eastern Region states and Washington D.C.

View teen driving resources.

Upcoming Webinars

TODAY at 1 p.m. ET: Civil Commitment Laws and Population Health

This webinar explores civil commitment law through a public health lens, explaining why civil commitment is needed and where it comes from, the legal background and variations in civil commitment law and practice today, and the science and scientific challenges faced in practice. There’s still time to register and attend!

Learn more and register.

When Public Health Goes to Court: Judicial Structure and Functions

The judicial system plays a critical role in advancing public health goals, and it is critical that public health practitioners, legal counsel, and other partners understand how the court system works and how courts are involved in public health matters. Attend our webinar on February 5 to examine the structure and essential functions of the state and federal court systems. This webinar is the first in a three-part series presented jointly by the Network and the CDC’s Public Health Law Program

Learn more and register for Judicial Structure and Functions webinar.

Ask the Experts

Video Directly Observed Therapy in Minnesota

A local health officer in Minnesota recently contacted the Network seeking information about the legal landscape of video directly observed therapy (VDOT) for tuberculosis in the state. VDOT allows for a health care worker or other designated individual to remotely observe a patient taking required doses of medication for TB treatment.

More on VDOT in Minnesota.

Public Health Law Research

Legislative Prescriptions for Controlling Nonmedical Vaccine Exemptions

A paper published online recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association explores 24 legislative options currently being used by states for controlling nonmedical vaccine exemptions. The paper also offers evidence-based suggestions on how to impact the strength of the vaccination requirement and the number of exemptions.

More about JAMA article.

FDA Fellowship Opportunity

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is offering mid-career professionals a unique opportunity to spend 12 months working in the Office of Regulations within FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. Fellows gain experience analyzing legal, scientific, and policy issues, and actively participate in the development of science-based public health strategies. Candidates with expertise in administrative law issues are encouraged to apply. Fellows are awarded up to $95,000 based on salary history. The application is open through March 2.

Visit the FDA Tobacco Regulatory Science Fellowship site to learn more.

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