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Public Health Law Case Studies

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Modernizing Public Health Law: The Impact of the Turning Point Model State Public Health Act on State Legislative Reforms

Together with colleagues at the Center for Health Policy at the Columbia University School of Nursing, the Centers has engaged in a project funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to research state efforts to reform public health laws subsequent to the Turning Point Model State Public Health Act.

This project has produced a series of state case studies through meetings with key informants, including public health officials, legislators or legislative staff, executive policy staff, and representatives of health-related advocacy or lobbying groups. Researchers have analyzed (1) various actors' roles in the statutory or regulatory modernization process; (2) public health problems addressed by the changes; (3) obstacles to reforming state law and strategies to overcome these obstacles; and (4) subsequent changes in public health regulation, organization, or programs based on statutory reforms. These case studies, authored by Benjamin Mason Meier, Kristine M. Gebbie, and James G. Hodge, Jr., include the following:

Alaska: A Case Study in Public Health Law Reform and the Turning Point Model State Public Health Act (2006).

South Carolina Public Health Law Reform Pursuant to the Turning Point Model State Public Health Act (2006).

Wisconsin: A Contemporary Case Study in Public Health Law Reform (2007).

Nebraska: A Case Study in Public Health Law Reform and the Turning Point Model State Public Health Act (2007)

In February 2009, Benjamin Mason Meier, James G. Hodge, Jr. and Kristine M. Gebbie published their manuscript, Transitions in State Public Health Law: Comparative Analysis of State Public Health Law Reform Efforts Following the Turning Point Model State Public Health Act in the American Journal of Public Health, Volume 99(3): 423-430. The manuscript offers a complete assessment of the authors' extensive case studies of public health legal reform efforts in four states (AK, NE, SC, and WI) including lessons learned about the process for effectuating legal reforms through model laws.

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Core Public Health Law Case Studies

Centers' colleagues, Lawrence O. Gostin and James G. Hodge, Jr., have conducted several state public health law case studies at the request of state public health authorities with funding through Turning Point: Collaborating for a New Century in Public Health, a joint initiative sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson and W.K. Kellogg Foundations.

These case study reports assess and review the laws supporting the public health system in each of the states below for the purpose of making recommendations on reforming state public health law and improving relationships among public health actors at the federal, state, local, and tribal levels of government. Each of the reports include discussions on the following:

  1. Review of Public Health Law
  2. Defining Public Health Law
  3. Constitutional Authority for Public Health Powers
  4. Current Status of State Public Health Law
  5. Benefits of a Public Health Law Improvement Process
  6. Guidelines for Reforming Public Health Law

These state public health case studies include:

State Public Health Law - Assessment Report for the Turning Point Public Health Statute Modernization Collaborative (2001)

State Public Health Law - PowerPoint Presentation (based on the Assessment Report above) (2001)

Reforming Alaska Public Health Law (1999)
 
New Hampshire Public Health Law (1999)
 
Virginia Public Health Law: Review and Recommendations (1999)
 
Oregon Public Health Law: Review and Recommendations (2000)