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Public Health Law Training for Future Public Health Practitioners

Read our report on how academic programs can better prepare the public health workforce

Good Governance

Understanding public health law is critical to addressing today’s public health issues. Law establishes the foundation for the public health system, and the law is a powerful tool to address the fundamental drivers of health inequity and enable community members to live safer and healthier lives.

Yet many public health education and training programs — including master of public health (MPH) programs — do not prepare practitioners to enter the workforce with an adequate understanding of how the law can be used to improve or hinder the public’s health. Out of 190 accredited US schools and programs of public health that offer an MPH degree, only 17% offer a course dedicated to public health law.

To better inform academic institutions about how they can increase training in public health law for public health students, ChangeLab Solutions, in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), conducted a multi-year assessment that included an environmental scan, data collection and analysis, and key informant interviews. This summary report presents key findings, identifies challenges and barriers, and offers opportunities and recommendations that academic institutions and public health training programs can use to provide practitioners with basic knowledge of the law and its impact on public health.