Examining the impact of infectious-disease-reporting laws on public health's ability to prevent, control and treat emerging health threats

The Foundation's program, Public Health Law Research: Making the Case for Laws That Improve Health, was designed to build the evidence for public health law and policy, translate research findings into practical tools to increase the support for and use of law by policy makers and public health practitioners, and to translate findings to other fields and venues to improve and protect health.This study will assess: (1) whether state reporting laws for novel H1N1 influenza and emerging infections impact the ability of public health to collect data elements on individual cases; (2) whether state reporting laws for novel H1N1 influenza and emerging infections impact the ability of public health to develop recommendations for disease prevention, control, and treatment; and (3) the effect of "home rule" in a state's infectious disease reporting structure on the state's ability to develop such recommendations. The research team will conduct mapping and implementation studies by collecting data in three areas: legal authority, epidemiologic data collected on novel H1N1 influenza cases, and CDC and state recommendations. Methods will include an inventory of each state's reporting laws/structure for emerging infections and interviews with state officials. Findings have the potential to impact law, public health policy, and epidemiology. Disease reporting is the foundation for public health's core functions in prevention and control of infectious diseases. Novel H1N1 influenza provides a critical example of the differences in states' abilities to promptly gather relevant data on a disease of national importance. Law is a potentially modifiable factor and policymakers may choose to improve state laws if value is demonstrated. By addressing these questions, the investigators hope to assess the public health benefit/detriment of differing state authorities for reporting. Deliverables include a report of findings and proposed best practices to stakeholders most likely to benefit and most likely to implement changes in public health practice. This grant is being transferred from the State of Minnesota Department of Health to the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $71,458.00

Awarded on: 4/4/2012

Time frame: 4/15/2012 - 5/14/2013

Grant Number: 70000


University of Minnesota School of Public Health

Mayo Mail Code 197
420 Delaware Street, S.E.
Minneapolis, 55455-0381


Anne M. Barry
Project Director