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Center for Injury Research and Policy

The Network for Public Health Law

The Network for Public Health Law (NPHL) provides insightful legal assistance, helpful resources, and opportunities to build connections for local, tribal, state, and federal officials; public health practitioners; attorneys; policy-makers; and advocates. Organizations and individuals committed to improving public health can join the Network through its recruitment page.

Public health laws include all statutes and regulations that directly or indirectly promote, protect or improve the public’s health and safety. Public health laws help to create and govern public health agencies, as well as regulate private sector actors in the interests of the public’s health. Some public health laws clearly identify, prevent and reduce risks to health and safety, including laws that ban smoking in public places, protect our food supply and require the use of vaccines to prevent the spread of contagious diseases. Some laws often have unintentional impacts on public health and safety. For example, zoning laws that require sidewalks, parks and playgrounds in residential areas increase opportunities for physical activity, which may decrease the risks of obesity in a community.

The NPHL builds relationships, delivers technical assistance and provides training. Technical assistance includes support to develop, implement and enforce policies to help achieve a public health objective or goal. Technical assistance also includes help finding resources, such as existing legal briefs, fact sheets or other available data. Technical assistance does not include providing legal advice or representation.

The Network is made up of lawyers; public health practitioners; local, tribal, state and federal officials; policy-makers; public health advocates; organizations; and others. At this time, the Network has a National Coordinating Center and five regions. Each state, tribe and territory is assigned to a region, which is led by a Regional Office in that area. The Network’s Eastern Region is a partnership between the University of Maryland Carey School of Law and the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy.  The Eastern region is responsible for responding to inquiries about legal aspects of injury prevention and control.  The Eastern Region also produces reports, policy analyses, blogs, and webinars regarding injury.