Thursday, September 12, 2013

Ten new videos released today present ideas and evidence to support proposed legal and policy changes that can positively impact public health challenges.

“Laws can be cost-efficient and popular tools for achieving public health goals. This initiative captures specific actionable, evidence-based ideas for creative ways of using law or legal interventions to improve a public health problem,” said Scott Burris, JD, director of the PHLR program.

The release of the videos is accompanied by an article published today in the American Journal of Public Health, “Critical Opportunities for Public Health Law: A Call to Action.” The article outlines five high-priority areas where evidence suggests legal interventions can have big impacts on health, and calls for a national conversation to continue to identify and prioritize opportunities for legal and policy action. The recommended interventions range from fine-tuning existing graduated driver licensing laws to doubling alcoholic beverage tax rates. The article is available from the American Journal of Public Health.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Institute of Medicine, and others have called for better, smarter use of legal interventions to advance public health,” said Michelle Mello, JD, PhD, the lead author of the article and professor of law and public health at Harvard University. “That’s no small task, but there’s a treasure trove of great ideas to draw on and evidence to back them up.”

PHLR has also developed a toolkit that could be used by other organizations or instructors to host Critical Opportunities sessions at their meetings or in classrooms. The toolkit is a step-by-step how-to guide for using this format to identify ways law could be used to address public health issues.