Even as public health, health care, and emergency services are focused on getting vaccines in arms and responding to the medical, economic, and social impacts of COVID-19, new laws are being made that have serious implications in the near term and for future public health emergencies. Dissatisfaction and anger at perceived overreaches by governors and public health officials in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an onslaught of legislative proposals to eliminate or limit the ability of public health officials to take necessary actions to protect the public from serious illness, injury, and death. These efforts have the potential to impact public health in profound ways for years to come and it is foreseeable that these laws will also lead to preventable tragedies.

Additionally, nationwide, state and local public health officials working to protect the public from COVID-19 are on the receiving end of threatening and harassing conduct for simply fulfilling their duty to protect the public’s health.

Join us  in Baltimore to examine the use of public health measures to mitigate harm from COVID-19, recent legislative and other efforts to severely limit these measures, and strategies to strengthen public health’s capacity to protect communities.

Attend this Summit to engage with others to build a shared understanding of how public health law can and should make our communities healthier and more inclusive, and to:

  • Get an in-depth understanding of Jacobson v. Massachusetts, how the Supreme Court in that case understood the relationship between individual liberties and public health powers, how the current Supreme Court has limited that decision, and what that may mean for the future of public health powers.
  • Learn about the current legal challenges to public health measures that are playing out in the courts.
  • Examine legislative efforts to pass laws that severely limit public health’s ability to protect communities, as well as laws seeking to strengthen public health powers.
  • Understand the role preemption plays in diluting or preventing public health officials from enacting safety measures to protect communities.
  • Explore the existing legal landscape in states which may offer protection for public health officials who have increasingly come under threat.
  • Obtain guidance on how to educate legislators and the public about the health impacts of current or proposed legislation to limit public health measures, and the difference between lobbying and advocacy.
  • Gain tools and best practices for effective messaging about the role of public health in protecting communities and the potential impacts of a weakened public health system.


 The 2022 Public Health Law Summit is organized by: