Expanding the Knowledge Base of State Legislators and Their Staffs

Forum for State Health Policy Leadership

Dates of Project: 2006–2009

Field of Work:  Informing state legislators and legislative staff on heath issues

Problem Synopsis:  State legislators grapple with a multitude of critical policy issues relating to public health and the health care delivery system. They require relevant, reliable, and objective information to help them make well-informed decisions. Legislators may develop expertise in health issues over time, but term limits and high levels of turnover create a constant need to replenish the knowledge base at the state level.

Synopsis of the Work:  The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) established the Critical Health Areas Project (2006–2010), recruited participants from state legislatures, and provided them with nonpartisan, objective information related to emerging and critical health policy issues. It later launched the Legislative Staff Health Network (2009–2012) to connect and inform legislative staff on health issues.

Key Results: The Critical Health Areas Project:

  • Held 12 face-to-face events and 26 webinars
  • Published a biweekly listserv publication, a newsletter, and 11 fact sheets
  • Briefed legislators in 14 states, and provided assistance to legislators from every state

The Legislative Health Staff Network:

  • Created an online state-by-state directory of health staff
  • Sponsored webinars and in-person events on health topics
  • Provided stipends to allow legislative staff to attend conference meetings

Most Requested