As researchers who track the evolution of laws and policies over time, one would think we’d be relatively adept at charting the course of our own history. Yet, this milestone seems to have crept up on us all — this June marks the 10-year anniversary of the Center for Public Health Law Research.
When we began in June 2009, our goal was to better understand the role laws and policies play in public health, and to develop and nurture a field of research that would help support that endeavor. Since then, the field of public health law research has blossomed into a discipline with a new name — legal epidemiology — practiced and taught around the world.
In the past 10 years, we have worked hard to help build the foundation for legal epidemiology. We have published two textbooks, a comprehensive library of open access methods resources, and nearly 300 articles, legal maps, and other materials that synthesize and translate legal epidemiology studies and their findings. Through our original Public Health Law Research Program, we funded 81 grantees and about $13.5 million in RWJF-supported research funding. Our Policy Surveillance Program has taught more than 600 individuals our novel process for scientific legal mapping, and has created more than 100 high-quality, free legal datasets that support public health law research and practice. Our RWJF Policies for Action Research Hub is breaking new ground in the effort to understand the role of law and policy levers on health equity in housing. We now proudly recognize five Fellows from institutions around the United States, whose work supports and extends our mission beyond our office on Broad Street. And, we have worked domestically and internationally to further the adoption of these methods, strengthen the public health legal and policy infrastructure needed to build a Culture of Health, and support our understanding of law and policy and its impact on health, well-being and equity around the world.
We are immeasurably thankful to a host of colleagues, partners, collaborators and funders whose time and dedication to this field have, without a doubt, irrevocably changed the way we understand law and its relationship to health, and who have made our accomplishments possible. While this list is very long, there are a few who deserve specific mention here: Thank you to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, whose visionary leadership supported not only the birth of this program, but also continues to be one of the most consistent funders of this field. We are forever thankful for their belief in the power of research and the value of law as an intervention to improve health. Thank you, too, to Temple University and the Beasley School of Law — our academic and physical home, whose support has allowed us to cultivate a team and a program that has become a world-class research center.
As we look forward to the next decade, we hope it will look a lot like this one: full of exciting advances.
Over the next year, we will be celebrating this anniversary by recounting milestones in our history and the history of the field, hosting a symposium, and a few other celebrations to mark the passage of time and look hopefully toward the future.
As long as there are laws, someone will need to measure them, and we certainly can’t wait to do so.
With most sincere thanks for a great 10 years,
The Center for Public Health Law Research
Scott Burris, JD, Director
Heidi Grunwald, PhD, Director
Lindsay Cloud, Esq., Director – Policy Surveillance Program
Bethany Saxon, MS, Director of Communications
Katrina Makarova, Finance Manager
Andrew Campbell, JD, MBA, Senior Program Manager
Kathleen Moran-McCabe, JD, Special Projects Manager
Nadya Prood, MPH, Technical Research Coordinator
Joshua Waimberg, JD, Legal Training Manager
Adrienne R. Ghorashi, Esq., Program Manager
Jessica Amoroso, Esq., Law and Policy Analyst
Amy Cook, JD, Law and Policy Analyst
Marcelo H. Fernández-Viña, JD, MPH, Law and Policy Analyst
Adam Herpolsheimer, JD, Law and Policy Analyst
Alexandra Hess, JD, Law and Policy Analyst