A special thank you to our attendees, speakers, and sponsors for making the Spring 2022 Public Health Law Summit a success!

In April, more than 150 professionals from the public health community convened in Baltimore to discuss legislative efforts that have been passed in more than half of U.S. states to limit the ability of public health to protect communities. Legislation that seeks to strengthen public health authority and infrastructure were also highlighted; and the second half of the Summit was devoted to examining legal and policy mechanisms for advancing health equity across multiple areas impacting public 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 and advance health and racial equity.

The Summit will be divided into two focused Sections that can be registered for separately or together:

Section One: Strengthening Protections for Community Health

Dissatisfaction and anger at perceived overreaches by governors and public health officials in response to the 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.

Attendees who register for this Section of the Summit will:

  • 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.

Section Two: Advancing Health and Racial Equity

Implementing laws and policies that create the foundation for achieving health equity is a goal that has increasingly gained broad consensus.  Health equity is impacted by decisions that are made every day, but the scope of these impacts have historically been over-looked or not well understood. Nonetheless, there is a growing body of research, and mechanisms, that explore how law and policy in all sectors can advance health equity. This Section of the Summit will explore legal and policy mechanisms for advancing health equity across multiple areas impacting public health, with an emphasis on racial equity. Some of the topics will include:

  • Critical race theory and public health: understanding CRT’s relevance to declarations of racism as a public health crisis, legislative trends, and impacts on equity 
  • Racial equity frameworks and tools
  • Leveraging Medicaid and hospital community benefits to improve health equity
  • Community experiences in racial equity: challenges and successes
  • Network Racial Equity Interest and Needs Assessment: findings and next steps

 The 2022 Public Health Law Summit is organized by: