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November 1, 2001

New Model Emergency Health Powers Act Proposed to Help States Respond Rapidly to Public Health Threats

At the request of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Center for Law and the Public's Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Georgetown University has developed the Model Emergency Health Powers Act to help states respond in a rapid, orderly way to bioterrorism, emerging epidemics, and other public health emergencies. The Model Act was prepared for the CDC in collaboration with leading national organizations, including the National Governors Association, National Conference of State Legislatures, National Association of Attorneys General, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, and National Association of City and County Health Officers.

The goal of the draft legislation is to develop consensus-based model legislation for states that are considering new emergency public health legislation. States may adopt any or all of the resulting model legislation, as well as tailor it to meet their individual needs. The Model Emergency Health Powers Act draws together concepts and laws that are part of the foundation of public health law but are scattered throughout the legal system.

"We, as a nation, face public health threats that are potentially catastrophic. But, we have tools to reduce both the likelihood of such catastrophes and their severity. The law has always proven to be one of the most effective tools in protecting the public's health and safety," says Stephen Teret, JD, MPH, Director of the Center for the Law and the Public's Health and professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "This model law provides states with the emergency powers they need to address problems such as bioterrorism and the emergence of new, dangerous infectious diseases," adds Professor Teret.

The Model Act:

"This Model Act goes a long way toward helping governors improve their public health infrastructure to respond to today's health emergencies," said John Thomasian, director of the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices.

The model law conforms to both modern scientific and legal standards and is uniform in its approach to bioterrorism and other severe health threats.

Model State Emergency Health Powers Act

Public Affairs Media Contact for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Tim Parsons @ 410.955.6878 or