Network Report


Health Equity and Social Determinants of Health

Sessions on health equity and social determinants of health will be among the more than 40 sessions planned for the 2018 Public Health Law Conference. Session topics include tele-public health; reproductive health equity; healthy neighborhoods; medical-legal partnerships; school discipline reform; homelessness; and more.
 View the full conference schedule.


Addressing Socioeconomic Barriers to Health Equity through Law: A Preview of the 2018 Public Health Law Conference

July 26, 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. EST

Social and economic disadvantages create barriers to good health. Laws and policies can contribute to barriers, but can also be used to advance health equity. This webinar previews three sessions from the upcoming 2018 Public Health Law Conference. Panelists will discuss how telehealth can be employed to increase access to health care in underserved communities, how medical-legal partnerships can help address socioeconomic factors impacting health, and efforts at the State level to promote and strengthen benefits for children that are guaranteed by Medicaid.


Law and Policy Perspectives:

New York City Child Influenza Vaccination Rules Upheld by State's Highest Court

In states that have passed mandatory flu immunization for children between six months and five years of age, deaths and hospitalization due to flu have declined. In June, the New York Court of Appeals upheld a New York City Health Code requiring annual flu vaccination for children (ages of six – 59 months) who attend city-regulated child care or school-based programs. The ruling is a significant victory for public health in light of the ongoing legal challenges to mandatory vaccination requirements and childhood vaccination rates.  


Law and Policy Perspectives:

Maternal Mortality Review Committees and Their Potential Impact on Maternal Mortality Rates

More women in the United States die from pregnancy complications than in any other developed country, and the rate of maternal deaths continues to rise. Recent legislation passed by Congress establishes a shared responsibility between States and the Federal Government to identify opportunities to improve maternal health. The legislation supports the development of a model for States to operate maternal mortality reviews, assess the various factors that may have contributed to maternal mortality, and develop appropriate interventions to reduce and prevent such deaths. 


Law and Policy Perspectives:

Broadband Access as a "Super-Determinant" of Health

Access to broadband is increasingly being recognized as an important social determinant of health. However, despite progress in expanding connectivity, approximately 34 million people in the United States still lack broadband access. The “digital divide” is particularly acute in rural communities, where 23 million residents lack broadband access. Law and policy directly affect the availability and cost of broadband services. Federal and state policies, including the funding of broadband infrastructure in rural areas, can facilitate expansion of broadband access.


Legal Technical Assistance Highlight:

Policies to Address Food Deserts

Food deserts are geographic areas where residents lack access to affordable fresh produce, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and other foods that make up a full and healthy diet. These same areas may have plenty of fast food restaurants and convenience stores offering primarily processed foods, but lack full service grocery stores and other healthy food retailers such as farmers markets. A health policy analyst for a city health department contacted the Network for information on local policies that may help to address food deserts, with particular focus on policies that encourage small grocery stores to establish, renovate, or expand into underserved areas. 

Worth Sharing:

State Naloxone Access Laws are Associated with an Increase in the Number of Naloxone Prescriptions Dispensed in Retail Pharmacies

Co-authored by Network attorney Corey Davis, and published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, this article discusses the results of an examination of data from 2007 to 2016 to investigate whether naloxone access laws were associated with an increase in naloxone dispensed from retail pharmacies in the United States.

Job Opportunity: Law and Policy Research Associate III (J.D. Required)

The Policy Surveillance Program (Program) is a national initiative funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to increase the use of effective regulatory, legal, and policy solutions to improve public health. The Law and Policy Research Associate will be responsible for researching and analyzing statutory and regulatory laws across emerging public health topics for the creation of quantitative legal datasets. The selected candidate should be proficient in writing literature scans, briefs and reports, manuscripts, and other materials for publication. Additional responsibilities include writing abstracts, and presenting at conferences and events to promote the organization’s work. Performs other duties as assigned.

Job Opportunity: Technical Research Coordinator

The Center for Public Health Law Research (CPHLR) is seeking a Technical Research Coordinator who has a bachelor’s degree with three years of related background in econometrics/biostatistics/epidemiology. MPH, MPP, MSc, MA with law/policy experience and interests in health equity and social policy is preferred. The Technical Research Coordinator will work across a range of public health law issues, including housing, drug policy, and the impact of local laws on health, among others. Duties include coordination of projects, keeping up with grant timelines, and the writing of reports. 

Thank You!
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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.