The authors describe Five Essential Public Health Law Services and suggest investment in the people, methods and tools needed to move major policy initiatives from conception to widespread implementation. The model reflects a transdisciplinary approach integrating public health legal practice with law-related surveillance, evaluation and enforcement functions usually performed by public health practitioners. As an elaboration of law-related activities within the Ten Essential Public Health Services, the framework can be used to define, evaluate and strengthen public health law functions.
George Washington University, Columbian College of Arts and Sciences
This study examined economic and health outcome data from all 50 states between 1999-2010. The researchers find better health outcomes in states that enacted higher tax credits for the poor or higher minimum wage laws and in states without a right-to-work law that limits union power. These policies focus on increasing the incomes of low-income and working-class families, instead of on shaping the resources available to wealthier individuals.
Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act allowed states and localities to enforce federal immigration laws. This study finds that the state-level enforcement of this law has had an adverse impact on the use of pregnancy and childcare-related health services by Hispanic and Latina women.
In 1938, the US Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) instituted a nationwide minimum wage rate that sets a minimum hourly payment amount for qualified employees across the country. Established at 25 cents per hour, it has since been increased 22 times. Congress last raised the federal minimum wage rate on July 24, 2009 to $7.25, which is roughly $15,000 per year for a 40-hour work week.
Zoning laws that mix residential units with commercial and public/civic destinations have the potential to increase walkability. This study finds that significant relationships exist between the range and precision with which the zoning ordinances have been written and the mixture of walking destinations that result within the areas.
Parental involvement (PI) laws require that physicians notify or obtain consent from a parent(s) of a minor seeking an abortion before performing the procedure. This study shows that prior evidence based on gonorrhea rates overlooked the frequent under-reporting of gonorrhea by race and ethnicity, and presents new evidence on the effects of PI laws using more current data on the prevalence of gonorrhea and data that are novel to this literature (i.e., chlamydia rates and data disaggregated by year of age).
This study explored the association between the legal infrastructure of local public health, as expressed in the exercise of local fiscal and legislative authority, and local population health outcomes.