“Legal epidemiology,” the scientific study of law as a factor in the cause, distribution, and prevention of disease in a population, is funded and conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but the level of work and its distribution across the agency has not been assessed.
Knowledge Synthesis Product
This report was prepared for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Public Health Law Program to summarize the research and results undertaken in the first year of a project intended to advance the understanding and practice of legal epidemiology at CDC and state, local and tribal health agencies, with special focus on policy surveillance.
In this Critical Opportunity, Tamar Klaiman, PhD, MPH, suggests that providers should be required to offer pertussis vaccination prior to new parents leaving the hospital/birth center with a newborn.
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.
Each week, the team from the Policies for Action Research Hub posts a summary of the latest news in housing equity and law. Visit the Harvard Petrie-Flom Center's Bill of Health Law to see all the weekly reviews.
This Knowledge Asset includes information about the impacts of bullying; the public health framework for anti-bullying laws; the language and content of these laws; and current evaluation studies on the implementation and effectiveness of anti-bullying laws.
Drug overdose is the leading cause of injury-related death in the United States, killing more people every year than car crashes. While naloxone has been used in hospitals and ambulances for decades, the rising tide of overdose deaths has resulted in calls to make it more available to laypeople and first responders.
Workplace injuries remain a significant public health problem. In the U.S. there were 4,383 fatal workplace injuries in 2012, and an estimated 3.8 million nonfatal injuries. Approximately 49,000 deaths each year are attributed to workplace-related illnesses. A 2011 economic analysis found that workplace injuries and illnesses cost the United States $192 billion annually.
Childhood lead poisoning is widely recognized as one of the most significant environmental health problems impacting children in the United States, as well as many other countries. Lead is one of the longest-known, best-understood, and most well-monitored environmental toxins. Most (but not all) children with elevated blood lead levels are exposed to lead through lead hazards in older housing. Local policy approaches aim to reduce childhood lead poisoning by reducing the prevalence of lead hazards in high-risk housing, and do so by improving maintenance practices and controlling lead hazards.
The Problem: Motorcycle crashes are a significant public health concern. In 2010, 4,502 drivers died in motorcycle crashes, and deaths related to such crashes increased 55% between 2000 and 2010, according to the CDC. The same report notes that the economic burden of motorcycle crashes was $12 billion in 2005. The public bears most of these costs through lost tax revenue, increased insurance premiums, and Medicaid spending.