Network Development and Multidisciplinary Conferences for Public Health Law

Building public health law competence and capacity

Field of Work: Public health law

Problem Synopsis: Public health law intersects with numerous areas, including emergency preparedness, chronic disease, land use planning, childhood obesity and health disparities. Due to federal cutbacks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was unable to continue supporting the annual conferences on public health law that it had held from 2001 to 2006.

Synopsis of the Work: The American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics and the Public Health Law Association held a national conference, "Using Law, Policy and Research to Improve the Public's Health," from Sept. 13 to 15, 2010, in Atlanta. The society also assisted the Public Health Law Association in strategic planning.

Key Results: More than 400 lawyers, academics, public health and health care workers, and policy-makers attended the conference. Key themes included communicable and chronic disease prevention and control; health law and policy at global, national and local levels; and legal and policy research. A special supplement of the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, published in 2011, contained 23 scholarly articles by conference participants.

With technical assistance from the society, the Public Health Law Association adopted new bylaws and created new communication tools, including a redesigned website.