208297 Partnering to use law as a tool for protecting and promoting the the public's health

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Marek Sulzynski, MPA , Public Health Team, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton, NJ
Law is an essential tool in protecting and promoting the public's health. Legal mechanisms such as laws, regulations, and policies have been instrumental in achieving improvements in community health reducing tobacco use and exposure, reducing exposure to lead, reducing injuries related to motor vehicles, increasing vaccination rates. However, the challenge of improving health outcomes through the promotion of evidence-based laws and policies that reach legislators and policymakers remains a perennial one. Simply achieving the legal authority through statute, regulation, and policy to enforce public health is only a first step. Equally important is the ability of practitioners and community advocates to be trained in law-related skills. Public health officials and their counsel need the resources and technical assistance necessary to interpret the law in their region, to understand the legal issues, and promote policies and laws that will improve health. Achieving these goals requires a partnership based on shared objectives among foundations, lawyers, public health officials, academia and community organizations.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has taken significant steps toward advancing the use of law as a fundamental tool in promoting the public's health by developing two complementary programs in public health law. This session will provide attendees with an overview of the Foundation's recent strategic investments in public health law, identify how we partner with and provide technical assistance to researchers, practitioners, and advocacy groups to advance public health, and provide a general overview on how law can be a useful tool for community health planning and policy development.

Learning Objectives:
-Discuss how law is an essential tool for community health planning and policy development -Identify how diverse partnerships can advance public health through law -Describe available resources and opportunities to use law in community health planning and policy development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Involved in the conceptual design, programming, and implementation of the RWJF major initiatives in public health law
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.