Sounding the Alarm: The Duty of a Public Health Official to Take a Politically Unpopular Stand

Concurrent Sessions 6: 10:00 am – 11:15 am, Thursday, September 23, 2021

Politics can overwhelm public health practice. The COVID-19 pandemic and Flint’s water crisis are good examples. When politics threatens population health, must public health officials take a stand against those politics? If so, how does and how should the law account for this responsibility and, as we’ve learned, the political and personal costs to officials for doing so? This session will address these questions.


  • Robert Gatter, JD, Professor of Law, Saint Louis University


  • Lance Gable, JD, MPH, Associate Professor of Law, Wayne State University Law School
  • Peter Jacobson, JD, MPH, Professor Emeritus of Health Law and Policy, University of Michigan School of Public Health