Network Report



Public Health Law and Policy Perspectives

Laws and Policies Can Ensure Health Benefits of Competitive Sports Extend to All Children

An estimated 60 million children participate in recreational sports each year. With so many kids engaged, youth sports present a unique opportunity for public health to include our youngest generation in valuing and prioritizing health. Effective policymaking and implementation of laws can keep sports safe for young athletes and ensure the benefits of sports extend to all kids, regardless of socioeconomic status.

More on the power of sports to improve health.

Improving Health Outcomes for Formerly Incarcerated Americans

Incarcerated individuals are up to seven times more likely to have chronic health conditions requiring ongoing care, most notably substance use disorders and mental health needs; but estimated 70 to 90 percent of adults released from criminal justice settings are uninsured. As such, these individuals lack access to necessary health services, leading to higher reincarceration rates and significantly worse health outcomes.

Learn how Medicaid is helping formerly incarcerated adults.

Resource: Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Motorcycle helmets are one of the most important pieces of safety equipment for motorcyclists. Helmets can help reduce the severity of head injuries and even the likelihood of death. Yet as of July 2012 only 22 states require helmet use for everyone. This comprehensive table summarizes motorcycle helmet laws in all 50 states and Washington D.C.

More on motorcycle helmet laws resource.

Upcoming Webinar: Community Health Needs Assessments – A North Carolina Case Study

This webinar will provide an overview of Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNA) and Implementation Strategies completed by North Carolina nonprofit hospitals. Attend to learn about best practices and collaborative approaches for developing CHNAs among hospitals, health departments, and community partners. Webinar takes place on June 4 at 2 p.m. (ET).

Learn more and register for webinar.

Ask the Experts

Texting as a Public Health Tool: Policies and Practice

More than 70 percent of adults in the United States use text messaging, and health practitioners are taking advantage of this trend to communicate with clients and encourage engagement with their health care. The Network was recently contacted by a local health department for information — specifically examples of policy and practice from other jurisdictions — on using text messaging to communicate on matters such as immunization and appointment reminders, emergency notifications, and client care.

More on public health texting policies.

Public Health Law Research: Youth Sports Traumatic Brain Injury Laws

Each year as many as 300,000 young people suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), or what is more commonly known as a concussion, from playing sports. This updated dataset identifies key features of laws aimed at reducing harm from TBIs occurring in scholastic youth sports activities across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and over time, from January 1, 2009 to May 1, 2015.

View the Youth Sports TBI Laws dataset.


ASTHO is currently seeking a Director and Senior Director of State Health Policy for its Health Systems Transformation Team. ASTHO’s work in this area supports patient experience of care, improving the health of populations, and reducing the per capita cost of health care.

Get details about the Director of State Health Policy position.
Get details about the Senior Director of State Health Policy position.


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