Conference Examines Where Health Issues Intersect the Law

Conference on the public health and law in the 21st century

The American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics, Boston, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) jointly sponsored the second annual national conference, "The Public's Health and the Law in the 21st Century," held June 16–18, 2003 in Atlanta.

Key Results

  • More than 500 individuals attended the conference, including state and local public health officials, public health attorneys, elected officials, law enforcement officials, judges, health care providers and academics. The conference had four goals:

    • To understand the role law plays in protecting the public's health.
    • To explore new perspectives on the intersection of public health and law.
    • To apply science-based information about law to public health policymaking and practice.
    • To form partnerships to shape and use legal tools to improve public health.

    Conference sessions focused on how the law and public health intersect on such topics as emergency preparedness, law enforcement, SARS and nutrition and physical activity.

  • During the conference, attendees officially launched the Public Health Law Association as a new nonprofit organization to strengthen the practice of public health attorneys.

    More than 100 conference attendees signed up as charter members of this new association. As reported in the Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, the mission of the Public Health Law Association is to promote healthy people in healthy communities through dialogue, partnerships, education and research in public health.

  • The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics published the conference proceedings in a special supplement (Fall 2003) and distributed more than 4,000 copies.

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