News

RWJF Commits $25 Million to Broaden Health Research

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) announced on May 19 the new direction for its Research-Evaluation-Learning Team (REL) under the Culture of Health vision, and research on laws, regulations, and policies is a key component. RWJF has committed roughly $25 million in new funding over the next three years for these three new programs, which will provide new funding opportunities for continued research of the policies, laws, system interventions, and community dynamics that improve health and well-being, with emphasis on sectors not typically associated with health, such as transportation and housing.

Webinar: Public Health Law and Policy Surveillance

Policy surveillance is the ongoing, systematic collection, analysis, and dissemination of data about laws and policies. There is a long tradition of conducting “50 state surveys” to identify laws of public health significance, but the methods for creating these surveys are largely unscientific. Unlike this traditional legal research, policy surveillance uses systematic quantitative and qualitative coding to create scientific datasets and track policies over time. Throughout the past year the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Public Health Law Research program, the Network for Public Health Law, ChangeLab Solutions and the CDC Public Health Law Program have been exploring policy surveillance through a Delphi process and within their programs. This webinar will present the findings from that Delphi study and will explore the role of policy surveillance in understanding the impact of law on public health.

Webinar: Local Immigration Laws and their Impact on Hispanic/Latino Health

Thursday, April 16 at 1 p.m. ET

Federal immigration enforcement policies have been increasingly delegated to state and local jurisdictions. This shift has resulted largely from the implementation of two federal initiatives: section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and the Secure Communities program. Some evidence suggests that both section 287(g) and the Secure Communities program contribute to Hispanic/Latino immigrants’ general mistrust of local law enforcement, as well as fear of utilizing a variety of public services and accessing health care services. This webinar will introduce new research investigating the impact these laws may have on access to care and how barriers created by immigration laws could impact health. Presenters will offer practical suggestions to help public health practitioners, health care providers and community workers address these barriers.

Primary Care Physicians Are Aware of Prescription Monitoring Programs, but Many Find Accessing Data Difficult and Time-Consuming

A new study released on March 2, 2015, in Health Affairs reports that most primary care physicians are aware of prescription drug monitoring programs and have used the data in their practices, but do so only intermittently.

The study surveyed 420 physicians randomly identified through the American Medical Association’s Masterfile list. Of those physicians surveyed, 72 percent were aware of their state’s prescription drug monitoring program, and 53 percent reported that they had used the programs.

Webinar: Civil Commitment Laws and Population Health

The role that civil commitment and involuntary hospitalization have played in providing mental health care has changed markedly since the middle of the 20th century. All 50 states and the District of Columbia have civil commitment laws that govern how and when an individual may be admitted to a psychiatric facility without their consent. This free webinar will explore civil commitment law through a public health lens, explaining why civil commitment is needed and where it comes from, the legal background and variations in civil commitment law and practice today, and the science and scientific challenges faced in practice. It will consider these issues as they relate to current national discussions of mental illness and violence, civil liberties, and an improved health care delivery system. Join us on Thursday, January 22 at 1 p.m. ET!

Local Enforcement of Federal Immigration Laws Impacted Hispanics/Latinos’ Prenatal Health

A program that allowed states and localities to enforce federal immigration laws adversely impacted the use of pregnancy and childcare-related health services by Hispanics, according to a new study published on December 18, 2014 in the American Journal of Public Health.

The study, conducted in North Carolina, examined vital records data to understand the use of prenatal care by Hispanic/Latina women shortly before and after implementation of Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act in seven counties that signed on to participate in the program and seven counties that did not.

Public Health Law Research Program Funds Nine New Studies

The public health effects of laws on issues such as e-cigarettes, fracking, concussions in youth sports and school vaccination requirements will be investigated through nine new research projects funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) Public Health Law Research (PHLR) program.

The grants announced today total nearly $1.2 million and will support short-term and time-sensitive studies on specific laws or regulations and the development of legal datasets. See the summaries below for more details on the latest round of research projects funded by PHLR.

Public Health Law Research Program Director Wins APHA Lifetime Achievement Award for Public Health Law

Scott Burris, JD has been named the first recipient of the American Public Health Association (APHA) Law Section’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Public Health Law. Burris and his accomplishments will be recognized at the annual Law Section reception on Monday, November 17, 2014 at the APHA Annual Meeting being held in New Orleans.

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