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Modernizing public health codes: Approaching a complex code review

Kristine M. Gebbie, RN, DrPH1, Lillian Choi, JD1, and Frank Grad, LLB2. (1) Center for Health Policy, Columbia University School of Nursing, 630 West 168th Street, GB 250, New York, NY 10032, 917-691-7035, lyc2103@columbia.edu, (2) Law School, Columbia University, 435 West 116th Street, New York, NY 10027

The September 11th attacks, threats of bioterroism and concerns raised by SARS have created a heightened national awareness for the necessity of adequate public health laws. To that end, states and localities have become interested in assessing their existing public health laws to determine if these laws will provide a sufficient legal basis for public health authorities to take the actions necessary to protect the publicís health. The Turning Point Initiative Public Health Law Collaborative model state public health act has been developed to help guide states assessing their laws; however, there does not exist an equivalent resource and model for local level governments to reference.

Columbia University School of Nursingís Center for Health Policy is collaborating with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to review the New York City Health Code (Code) to assess the efficacy of the Code in protecting public health. The review has emphasized emergency response, surveillance, modern constitutional standards and strengthening the Code to assure that it can provide the legal tools to address the cityís public health needs. The review and proposed revisions will reflect modern thinking about public health and public health law and will be based on legal and academic analysis, including case law review, and meetings with and questionnaires answered by department members implementing the Code. The process used for this effort will be presented in detail with suggestions for use in other jurisdictions.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Public Health Legislation, Planning

Related Web page: None.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Improving Patient Safety through Regulatory Inititatives

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA