Public Health Law Practitioners Convening

Join us in Chicago on August 17–19

In response to restrictions on the authority of state and local public health officials enacted in over half of US states, the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are sponsoring a practice-focused convening on public health law.

Join us on August 1719 in Chicago for a convening where both new and experienced practitioners can learn legal and policy skills to advance public health. Attendees will have the opportunity to network with colleagues from state, tribal, local, and territorial health departments.

We want to connect with you! See below for a list of presentations by ChangeLab Solutions staff  and stop by our table showcasing the Public Health Law Academy.

Ready, Set, Practice: Leveraging Legal Epidemiology to Promote Health Equity

  • Wednesday, 8/17, at 1:15pm
  • Katie Hannon Michel, senior attorney

This interactive session will explore how laws and policies are related to a specific problem or topic that attendees are working on in their own jurisdiction  and how they can use the tools of legal epidemiology to promote health equity. Participants will brainstorm on questions like the following:

  • Who could we engage in our communities to learn about this topic?
  • Where would we look to find existing research?
  • What types of laws and policies affect this problem?
  • What kinds of data would help to analyze the public health implications of those laws and policies?

Equitable Policy Development

  • Wednesday, 8/17, at 3:00pm
  • Cesar De La Vega, senior policy analyst
  • Nessia Berner Wong, senior policy analyst

This workshop focuses on how public health law practitioners can use innovative frameworks, partnerships, and processes to develop policies that advance health equity. In breakout activities, participants will explore how to integrate stakeholder engagement and local or state context into policy analysis and development; which law and policy domains hold levers for equity; and how to work on equitable policy development within a health department. Participants should come ready to discuss equity tools that they use and to reflect on their work.

Plenary: Belonging in Public Health: How the Law and Equity Can Collaborate to Improve Public Health Practice

  • Thursday, 8/18, at 9:00am
  • Sarah de Guia, chief executive officer

This moderated panel will begin the conversation on how law can be used to create and support a culture of belonging. The panelists will discuss the importance of a culture of belonging, barriers to creating this type of culture, and the role that organizations can play. Panelists will also offer practical and innovative ways for practitioners to advance equity in law and policy. 

Administrative Law and Equitable Enforcement

  • Thursday, 8/18, at 10:45am
  • Maya Hazarika Watts, managing director
  • Katie Hannon Michel, senior attorney
  • Jessica Breslin, senior attorney

Throughout this interactive session, participants will be offered opportunities to engage with speakers and learn how critical principles of administrative law affect practice in state and local public health departments. Participants will receive tools and resources offered by the Public Health Law Academy, a free, on-demand set of training modules developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and ChangeLab Solutions. Participants are asked to bring their own example of a policy (with enforcement provisions) they are currently working on or have worked on in the past, in order to apply the Equitable Enforcement Audit Tool as well as strategies and lessons learned from the presentation to topics directly relevant to their work.

Trends and Talking Points on Shifts in Public Health Authority

  • Thursday, 8/18, at 1:45pm
  • Sabrina Adler, vice president of law

Behind the tweets, posts, and headlines about America’s vicious culture war, a battle is raging over the nature and extent of the government’s authority to act for the collective good. During the pandemic, many local and state public health officials implemented innovative and equitable strategies to help meet communities’ needs, yet across the nation, we are seeing efforts to roll back public health authority in both emergency and non-emergency situations. This session will discuss legislative trends and litigation related to public health authority, as well as messaging research and strategies on how to talk more effectively about the critical role of public health in the community. Participants should come prepared to discuss how shifts in public health authority have affected their work, as well as challenges and successes they've had in communicating to various audiences about their work. Partners from Act for Public Health, an initiative of the Public Health Law Partnership, will present resources and engage participants in conversation.

The 14th Amendment and Public Health Practice

  • Friday, 8/19, at 2:15pm 
  • Cesar De La Vega, senior policy analyst

The 14th Amendment guarantees all US citizens "equal protection under the laws." This session focuses on how the 14th Amendment intersects with public health practice. Participants should come prepared to reflect on their work, trends they're seeing in the field, and implications for working in partnership with non-lawyers to advance health equity.

Register here.