207767 Cy pres settlements as a unique funding tool for projects to address disparities in water quality impacting public health in rural communities: Two case studies from the Public Health Trust

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 9:30 AM

Brenda J. Drake, JD , Public Health Trust, Public Health Institute, Oakland, CA
David Nesmith , California Environmental Water Caucus, Oakland, CA
Mary F. Dalsin, MS , Public Health Trust, Public Health Institute, Oakland, CA
Kathryn Duke, JD , Public Health Trust, Public Health Institute, Oakland, CA
Cheryl Niro, JD , Public Health Trust, Public Health Institute, Chicago, IL
Small communities continue to have difficulty funding projects to secure safe and affordable water. Barriers include increasingly limited grant funding from states and private funders, complex application processes, and lack of staff capacity and expertise in fundraising. Organizations that receive cy pres settlement funds from health-related litigation provide new and unique ways of addressing these challenges. These organizations have funding cycles and grantmaking approaches that are flexible enough to accommodate small community non-profits that have limited capacity for addressing sophisticated grant proposal requirements. The Public Health Trust (PHT), a project of the Public Health Institute in Oakland, managed two cy pres settlements addressing water contamination and its impact on drinking water and on fish caught and consumed in rural communities. Using two case studies from communities in northern and central California, this presentation will demonstrate creative, new ways to use litigation settlements to fund projects addressing water quality and resulting health disparities.

The Public Health Trust works with judges, lawyers and other legal specialists to identify settlements appropriate to channel into public health programs. Once PHT receives the settlement funds, a group of experts are convened to determine best uses and to help develop a request for proposals. Funded projects have addressed a number of health issues, including tobacco control and lead poisoning prevention. This presentation will focus on grant programs addressing water quality in rural communities and the impact on the health of communities that use the water and that eat fish caught in local rivers, lakes and streams.

Learning Objectives:
Explain how cy pres settlements can be used as a tool to address funding disparities related to water projects and public health. Discuss two examples of how cy pres settlements were used to address water quality issues impacting public health.

Keywords: Health Law, Underserved Populations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: This presentation will describe the operation of the Public Health Trust in intervening in litigation, obtaining the cy pres funds that result in successful settlement of public health oriented cases, and managing a competitive proposal process to implement projects that will ameliorate the public health issue. I serve as a consultant to the Public Health Trust. I have practiced law for 30 years, have delivered hundreds of legal education programs. I am a past president of the Illinois State Bar Association (the 2nd woman elected in 128 years), a leader in the American Bar Association. I have written extensively in bar journals and am a frequently sought keynote speaker at professional association meetings. My resume may be found by a google search.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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