How do law and policy affect our health?
Law and policy are essential for advancing health equity, but public health practitioners don't always receive formal training on these topics. To bridge this learning gap, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and ChangeLab Solutions created the Public Health Law Academy, which now offers a certificate track for its free, on-demand trainings.
To earn the Public Health Law Academy Certificate, a person completes seven trainings in core competencies that all public health practitioners need. The certificate program offers
- An introduction to public health law;
- Concepts needed to understand and implement law and policy with the goal of improving overall population health;
- Information on current topics like the extent of public health authorities' power to address disease outbreaks, what preemption is and how it affects health, and constitutional implications of public health actions;
- Skills in legal epidemiology, the scientific study of how laws affect public health;
- Documentation to increase the visibility of a growing technical skill set.
These trainings are designed for practitioners such as health department staff, public health lawyers, and nurses, as well as public health faculty and students.
We talked with several people who have earned the certificate, who described how taking the trainings has enhanced their work and studies in public health. For example, April Hamm, a public health advocate and entrepreneur, commented, "I have more confidence, and I feel better, like I can collaborate with people who are working in this field who have more of a formal background in health policy or law."