Advancing Public Health Through the Law: The Role of Legal Academics
In July 2012, 25 legal and public health academics convened a workshop to explore ways in which legal academics can better strengthen engagements with public health practice. The group recognized that the law has always been an integral part of public health, yet legal scholars are too often removed from the front line practice. In order to bridge this disconnect so that practitioners can benefit from and utilize ongoing legal research, the group pledged: (1) to work together to create a narrative counter to the “public responsibility” trope that dominated public health policy discussions; (2) to reduce overreliance on regulation and focus on shaping social norms directly via the law; (3) to assess the balance between targeting at-risk populations while still respecting rights; (4) to bring focused litigation against regulatory capture; (5) to research the impact of law on health; and (6) to bridge silos in order to create a unified front for improving public health.
Summary by Elisabeth J. Ryan