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Public Health Threats & the US Constitution: What Responders Need to Know – for Facilitators

Tools for Public Health Law Academy trainers

Good Governance

This collection of tools supports anyone interested in teaching public health practitioners about how to balance public health authority and individual civil liberties during crises. These tools are part of the Public Health Law Academy, which provides a deeper understanding of the use of law and policy to improve population health outcomes.

Start with our training Public Health Threats & the US Constitution: What Responders Need to Know About Equity, Law, and Public Health Authority, then download and tailor the following resources for your specific audience:

  • Facilitator’s Checklist
  • Facilitator’s Guide, which provides specific instructions on how to customize this training for your audience
  • Facilitator’s Script, which can be modified for your audience and speakers
  • Slide Presentation, which can be adapted to your unique training content

About This Training

During public health crises, state and local officials need to understand how to balance public health authority against individual liberty. Measures such as social distancing, isolation and quarantine, and mandatory examination and treatment all have constitutional implications — and even well-intentioned public health measures have the potential to reinforce inequities or, in some cases, actually widen them.

This training provides an overview of laws that affect how government can respond to health crises in ways that advance rather than hinder health equity. It introduces the constitutional principles and doctrines that protect individual civil liberties from government overreach.

Learning Objectives

Instructors can tailor these training materials to achieve the following learning objectives:

  • Explain how emergency preparedness relates to health equity
  • Describe the role of law in emergency preparedness and response
  • Explain the powers and limits that the US Constitution assigns to public health authorities in regard to disease control
  • Understand the need to balance collective actions for the common good against individual freedoms

The facilitator materials for this training are current as of August 2021.