Thursday, November 20, 2014

The public health effects of laws on issues such as e-cigarettes, fracking, concussions in youth sports and school vaccination requirements will be investigated through nine new research projects funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) Public Health Law Research (PHLR) program.

The grants announced today total nearly $1.2 million and will support short-term and time-sensitive studies on specific laws or regulations and the development of legal datasets. See the summaries below for more details on the latest round of research projects funded by PHLR.

PHLR’s aim is to promote the effective use of law to improve public health. Established in 2009, the program has now funded more than 85 studies and several reviews of existing scientific evidence on major public health challenges.

Besides the traditional research projects funded in this round, PHLR is also funding two mapping studies, one on how states have chosen to address workplace wellness laws and a second one that tracks health issues in oil and gas development.

Research studies already funded by PHLR are aimed at answering important questions: Are anti-bullying laws reducing bullying in schools? Are prescription monitoring programs effectively curbing opioid abuse? Are immigration laws impacting access to care among vulnerable populations?

“With each new set of studies, PHLR and our grantees further expand the body of evidence that helps policymakers make informed decisions about laws and policies that foster communities where health is not only a possibility but a priority, and where individuals can enjoy happy and healthy lives,” said PHLR Director Scott Burris, JD.


Study Summaries

State Pharmacy Laws Affecting Generic Prescription Drug Substitution: Their Effect on Public Health -- Brigham and Women’s Hospital Inc., Ameet Sarpatwari, JD, PhD; Co-PI: Aaron Seth Kesselheim MD, JD, MPH

Public Health and the Contested Legal Terrain of Electronic Cigarettes -- The Trustees of Columbia University of the City of New York, Amy Fairchild, PhD; Co-PI: Ronald Bayer, PhD

Impact of Public Health Laws on Electronic Disease Surveillance -- Drexel University, Jonathan Purtle, DrPH, MPH, MSc; Co-PI: Rob Field, JD, PhD, MPH

Capitalizing on Recent Changes to School Immunization Requirements to Improve the Publics’ Health -- Emory University, Saad Bin Omer, MBBS, PhD, MPH

Impact of State Opioid Regulation on Pain Management in Medicare Patients -- University of Georgia Research Foundation, W. David Bradford, PhD

Law Mapping: Health Issues in Oil and Gas Development -- Houston Advanced Research Center, Kathryn Mutz, AB, MS, JD; Co-PI: Matthew Samelson, JD, MPA

Variations in State Income Support Programs and their Relationship to Preterm Birth in the US -- University at Albany, State University of New York, Ashley Fox, PhD; CoPI: Elizabeth Howell, MD, MPP

Youth Sports TBI Laws: Measuring Public Health Impact on Initial and Recurrent Concussions -- Kent State University, Jingzhen, Yang, PhD, MPH

State Workplace Wellness Laws: A Mapping Study -- Temple University of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Jennifer Pomeranz, JD, MPH