ASU's Public Health Law Network awarded national grant

November 15, 2010

The Public Health Law Network - Western Region at Arizona State University has been awarded a $95,000 grant to develop a public health legal training curriculum and exercises for the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO).

Under the supervision of Professor James G. Hodge Jr., who directs the Western Region Office of the Network and the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law's Public Health Law and Policy Program (PHLPP), a team of public health law practitioners and emergency preparedness experts, including Jalayne Arias, Deputy Director of the Western Region Office, will produce the emergency legal preparedness materials. These curriculum and tabletop exercises will be used to train state and local public health officials, legal counsel and emergency managers.

"Local public health practitioners and emergency preparedness officials are on the frontlines of public health emergencies and disasters," notes Hodge, the ASU Lincoln Professor of Health Law and Ethics, "and specifically may need effective tools to assess how law may impact their response efforts."

According to Hodge, improving the understanding and abilities of state and local public health lawyers, officials, emergency managers and others to respond effectively through law is quintessential to improving public health emergency outcomes. The capacity to respond to legal issues that impact the public's health in real-time during emergencies requires advanced training to develop legal skills and build relationships among multiple actors, he said.

Based on existing "best practices" from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health Law Program models and prior work led by project investigators, the Western Region team will create tools that enhance understanding of the essential role of law, as well as improve the capacity of state and local actors to make critical legal decisions in public health emergencies

The Public Health Law Network - Western Region, which is housed in the College of Law's PHLPP, is among five centers launched across the country in September through a $1.325 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Network provides legal and policy solutions to professionals grappling with complex public health challenges such as food safety, health reform and emergency preparedness. More information about the Public Health Law Network is available at http://www.publichealthlawnetwork.org/.

Working in conjunction with the University of New Mexico School of Law, the Western Region helps public health authorities and partners assess and apply the law to pressing public health issues in 11 states, Arizona, Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington.
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Arizona State University

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