Strengthening Ties Between the Public Health and Legal Communities to Improve Public Health

Building a consensus agenda on the use of law to protect and improve public health

Although the law can be a powerful tool in addressing public health concerns, local officials often lack knowledge of public health law and how to use it, according to the Atlanta-based Public Health Law Association. In 2007, the association launched a project to examine ways to strengthen the collaboration between the public health and legal communities.

Key Results:

  • The association commissioned three articles published as a special supplement to the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, Vol. 36, September 2008:
    • "Training Individuals in Public Health Law"
    • "Building Public Health Law Capacity at the Local Level"
    • "Enhancing Public Health Law Communication Linkages"

Key Recommendations:

  • Tailor training programs in public health to meet the separate and distinct educational needs of public health officials and attorneys.
  • Build a network of independent, state-based organizations to provide training and educational information in public health law as well as expert legal counsel.
  • Host an annual, national public health law conference focusing on cutting-edge laws and regulations in public health.
  • Create a Web-based public health law portal.