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.
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.
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.
“Smart disclosures” are meant to empower consumers to make smart purchasing decisions by providing them with information about products, such as food nutrition labels or automobile fuel economy labels. But Adam Finkel, ScD explains in his Critical Opportunities presentation that these disclosures are often misleading, inaccurate, incomplete or nonexistent. To be valuable tools for consumers, Finkel suggests that smart disclosures would need to be updated and reevaluated for relevance, accuracy and clarity.
New Jersey is the first state in the United States to require novice drivers to put a red reflective decal on their license plate as part of their graduated driver’s license law. The decals signal the young driver’s probationary status to other drivers and law enforcement. A study by Allison Curry, PhD, MPH and her colleagues at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia found that New Jersey’s law has prevented more than 1,600 crashes and helped police officers enforce regulations unique to new drivers.
Prescription drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death. In his Critical Opportunities presentation, Corey Davis, JD, staff attorney at the Network for Public Health Law, suggests that easier access to opioid overdose reversal drugs like naloxone could help prevent overdose deaths.
Increasing concern about obesity and other nutrition-related health problems spurred governments to develop more robust and targeted approaches to foster healthier diet at a population level. Government routinely uses its regulatory power to alter activities and behaviors that influence public health, for example the New York City ban on the use of transfats in restaurants. Yet, in some scenarios, government may more effectively promote positive change through other means, including its purchasing or procurement authority.
The investigators will analyze merged, longitudinal, multivariable data from public mental health and criminal justice systems in Connecticut, Florida, and Virginia, to test the effectiveness of firearms laws' restrictions on access to guns for persons with a history of mental health adjudication.
Legal intervention to influence individual health behavior has increased dramatically since the 1960s. This paper describes the rise of law as a tool of public health, and the scientific research that has assessed and often guided it, with a focus on five major domains: traffic safety, gun violence, tobacco use, reproductive health and obesity. These topical stories illustrate both law’s effectiveness and limitations as a public health tool. They also establish its popularity by the most apt of metrics – the willingness of legislators to enact it.
Mental illness is a significant global public health issue. Disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression put an enormous strain on afflicted individuals, their caregivers and communities. Yet in some respects, acceptance of mental illness as a key part of the broader field of public health has developed only recently. What is the emerging role of law and policy in addressing the complex problems around mental illness from a public health perspective, and what is the agenda for research to inform those efforts?