Successful public health campaigns like tobacco control demonstrate that effective legal interventions can be expeditiously developed, evaluated and diffused, even in the face of powerful opposition. Success for legal health interventions depends on a well-designed and nurtured legal infrastructure that assured the timely delivery of public health law services that are essential to successful policy innovation that improves health.
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. The framework presented defines the components of a strategic investment that can turn evidence and expertise into better health, faster.