Network Report

11/12/15

Public Health Law and Policy Perspectives

Title VI Complaints: A Route to Improved Physical Education?

In California, civil rights advocacy groups are challenging the lack of physical education in schools, claiming that there are unjustified disparities in access to physical education on the basis of race, color and national origin. A 2015 study reported considerable disparities in physical fitness among Black and Hispanic students based on a review of nearly 1,000 public schools in California from 2010-2015.

GMOs: The Scientific and Legal Debate

As federal and state governments consider requiring food products with GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, to carry labels, the debate over whether there are real health concerns continues. Opponents of GMOs claim they negatively affect human health, while many researchers say the weight of the evidence indicates that GMOs are safe.

Public Health Legal Resources

50-State Compilation: State Laws Regarding Older Drivers

Evidence shows that older drivers are more prone to accidents, and laws in some states specify stricter standards for license renewals and vision and road tests for older drivers. This updated 50-state compilation lists laws in each state and outlines specific provisions related to age, testing and licensing.

Legal Toolkit for Newborn Screening DBS

Newborn screening is a vital public health program that detects serious medical conditions. Many states retain dried blood samples (DBS) from the screening process, and these DBS have a broad range of potential uses, including program evaluation, development of new tests, and public health and biomedical research. This toolkit provides a menu of options to consider in the development of policies related to the retention and secondary use of DBS, and includes guidance for newborn screening programs.

Upcoming Webinars

Motorcycle Helmet Laws: Innovative Approaches to Reducing Injury

Motorcycle helmets can help reduce the severity of head injuries and even the likelihood of death. Currently, 19 states and the District of Columbia have laws requiring all motorcyclists to wear a helmet, 28 states have partial helmet laws that require helmet use by young riders, and three states have no helmet law. This webinar will provide an overview of states’ motorcycle helmet laws, discuss the recent “Rider’s Choice” legislation in New Mexico, and examine the impact of helmet laws on injury and mortality rates across the country. The webinar will take place on Thursday, November 19 at 1 p.m. ET.

Immunization Information System (IIS) Interjurisdictional Data Exchange: Addressing Technical and Legal Barriers

The sharing of Immunization Information Systems data across federal, state and local jurisdictions can lead to more effective surveillance, better immunization planning and ultimately healthier communities. State health departments must analyze their laws to determine that they have the legal authority to share immunization data, and to ensure compliance with federal and state privacy laws. This webinar, taking place on December 9, provides an opportunity for public health professionals, including immunization program managers, IIS program staff, public health attorneys, and privacy officers to learn about IIS interjurisdictional data sharing and related legal resources.

Ask the Experts

Application of Vaccination Laws in Arizona Private Schools

State laws establish vaccination requirements for children attending public schools and often for those attending private schools. The Network recently received an inquiry about the application of vaccination laws to private schools in Arizona.

Public Health Law Research

Legal Changes to Increase Access to Naloxone for Opioid Overdose Reversal in the United States

A new study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence identifies and reviews all statutes and regulations related to layperson naloxone access in the United States that had been adopted as of September 2015. The study finds that most states have now passed laws intended to increase layperson access to naloxone. While these laws will likely reduce overdose morbidity and mortality, the cost of naloxone and its prescription status remain barriers to more widespread access.

Career Opportunity

Public Health Attorney, Network for Public Health Law — Mid-States Region

The Network is seeking a Public Health Attorney for its Mid-States Regional Office located at the University of Michigan School of Public health. The attorney will assist in efforts to strengthen the ability of public health practitioners, counsel, and other stakeholders to use law efficiently and effectively to protect and promote population health. Attorneys in good standing of the Bar of a U.S. jurisdiction, with 3-5 years of experience in providing either legal counsel or technical legal support in public health law are encouraged to apply.

Network People

Anna Schmalzbauer – Program Manager

We'd like to introduce new Network team member Anna Schmalzbauer! As program manager for the Network’s National Coordinating Center, Anna supports day-to-day operations, including programs, personnel, finances and facilities. She is also involved with organizational development and planning. Before joining the Network, Anna worked for ten years at a consulting agency, advising public sector organizations in areas such as performance and process redesign, and helping them identify and implement strategies for improvement.