Resources for Practitioners in Health Departments

Public Health Law Academy legal epidemiology training resources

More than ever, state, tribal, local, and territorial (STLT) health departments are asked to contribute to law and policy solutions that improve public health. Especially when the health issues are new or just emerging or are tied to longstanding social or structural determinants of health, STLT health departments may find themselves searching for evidence of what works and what does not. In these cases, comparing relevant legal language from other jurisdictions facing the same issues and evaluating whether existing laws and policies address or leave gaps is important.

Legal epidemiology is integral to this endeavor, and health departments have been building capacity and developing new legal studies on issues important to public health. The resources listed here are intended to supplement our free online Public Health Law Academy training series, Legal Epidemiology, and to introduce STLT health departments to this body of work.

Applied legal and policy research

  • A case for the application of policy surveillance to governmental public health research and practice
  • A scan of federal recommendations for legal interventions to promote public health. Laws and policies designed to address certain problems, characterized as legal interventions, are an integral part of broader solutions to many longstanding issues in public health. This 2015 scan covers legal interventions recommended by federal guidance documents, including Healthy People 2020, Winnable Battles, Prevention Status Reports, and the Guide to Community Preventive Services.
  • Criteria for selecting policies for surveillance. Recommendations from an expert review committee on criteria for policies that merit surveillance in environments with limited resources.
  • A Scan of CDC Legal Epidemiology Publications. A report summarizing the findings from a scan of the EndNote library maintained for Science Clips (publications by CDC authors) from January 2011 to May 2015, identifying 225 articles in the realm of legal epidemiology, comprising 158 scientific evaluations and 67 commentaries or other forms of non-empirical legal scholarship

Program development

  • Better Health Faster: The Five Essential Public Health Law Services. A paper setting out a framework for self-assessment and improvement of law-related activities in health practice
  • The Legal Epidemiology Competency Model. Guidelines for minimum competencies in legal epidemiology — including research and translation knowledge and skills — required of public health practitioners, lawyers, and policy experts working in state, tribal, local, or territorial health departments
  • Join the Legal Epidemiology Learning Cohort! This 10-month learning opportunity, which begins in early 2023, provides participants with the skills to implement their own legal epidemiology project. Register by December 1, 2022.