Neural tube defects, such as spina bifida or anencephaly, affect 3,000 babies in the United States each year. The majority of these cases can be prevented by taking folic acid throughout pregnancy, through diet or other supplements, or through the fortification of food. In their Critical Opportunities presentation, Erica Reott, MPH and Lt. Cmdr. Kinzie Lee, MPH, make the case that fortifying corn flour could improve health outcomes and reduce disparities among Hispanic women and their babies.
Critical Opportunities for Public Health Law gives participants – researchers, lawyers, doctors, public health officers and others – just five minutes to make their pitch for an evidence-based legal remedy to a critical public health problem. PHLR and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have compiled this library of big ideas with evidence-based solutions just waiting to be implemented. Guidelines for hosting a session can be found here.
In this Critical Opportunities presentation, Jeffrey Swanson, PhD, shares recommendations for the use of law to reduce the problem of gun violence. The recommendations are a package of policies that were originally presented at the Johns Hopkins Gun Policy Summit in January 2013.
Americans today have difficulty accessing primary care. Nurse practitioners could supplement the care provided by general practitioner physicians, and remove a barrier to care that would improve health outcomes and save money, explains Jamie Ware, JD, MSW, in her Critical Opportunities presentation.
Dana Singer, JD, research analyst at the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department, suggests in her Critical Opportunities presentation that banning these drinks in schools, limiting the product size, posting warning signs, as well as prohibiting SNAP dollars from being spent on sugar-sweetened beverages are ways law could be used to improve this considerable dental health problem.
Local integrated government could improve public health by streamlining activities and creating a more efficient and effective local government, according to Scott Hays, PhD in his Critical Opportunities presentation.
Hays offers five keys to establishing local integrated government, and provides evidence to support the value of adopting this system.
Because alcohol taxes have not been adjusted for inflation, spirits only cost one-fifth of what they used to cost in the 1950’s, leading to a host of alcohol-related injury and disease. In the United States, 80,000 deaths per year and 1.6 million hospitalizations per year are attributable to alcohol consumption.
Jasen Kunz, JD, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suggests in his Critical Opportunities presentation that the Model Aquatic Health Code provides sample evidence-based guidelines that can be adopted to help reduce rates of pool-related injuries and illness.
Half of all U.S. states have increasing childhood vaccination exemption rates, according to Tanya Karwaki, JD and Patricia Kuszler, MD, JD, from the University of Washington School of Law. Karwaki and Kuszler propose that enacting laws to make exemptions more difficult to obtain could improve public health outcomes.
Early childhood physical activity can prevent chronic disease says Scott Hays, PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He advises that setting high standards to strengthen state physical education requirements can assure that people are more physically fit.
Stricter requirements for labeling regulations could eliminate dishonesties in FDA food labeling, according to Adam Finkel, ScD, University of Pennsylvania. Finkel proposes four key ways the FDA could amend its labeling regulations. These amendments would allow more information disclosure that enables the public to make more informed decisions about the food they are consuming.