241364 A qualitative analysis of a specialized court process: The Philadelphia Lead Court

Monday, October 31, 2011: 2:30 PM

Carla Campbell, MD, MS , Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Drexel School of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA
Curtis E. Cummings, MD, MPH , Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Drexel University School of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA
Edward Gracely, PhD , Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Drexel School of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA
Peter Palermo, MS , Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA
George Gould, JD , Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
Objectives: This study evaluated whether the Philadelphia Lead Court, modeled after Tuberculosis Court, is effective as an innovative law enforcement strategy in enforcing the existing city health code. Established in 2002, the Court handles cases where the property owner has not responded appropriately to orders from Philadelphia Health Department to remediate lead hazards found in the homes of young children with elevated blood lead levels. Methods: This presentation will give results from a qualitative analysis that examined this specialized court process through interviews with Lead Court participants from the Court, and Philadelphia's health and law departments. Respondents were asked to provide detailed information regarding their experience with the court process, including use of fines and tailored court action forms, and asked to identify why and how the court functions well and ways in which it could be improved. Results: Initial results show that during interviews with 14 key Lead Court participants as to how effective Lead Court was, the response was a mean of 4.5, a median of 4.0 and range of 4-5 as responses (1=not effective to 5=extremely effective). By contrast, the effectiveness of pre-Court enforcement strategies received a mean of 1.4, a median of 1.0 and range of 1-2. Other study questions will be presented. Conclusions: Lead Court is judged to be very effective, compared to pre-court enforcement strategies, according to key court participants. This model of a specialized court as an innovative strategy for enforcing city health codes could be replicated in other cities with similar problems.

Learning Areas:
Environmental health sciences
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Assess the differences in health code enforcement in the pre-Lead Court era, as compared to the Court era. Describe how qualitative study methods can be used to evaluate a specific program.

Keywords: Children's Health, Environmental Health Hazards

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I serve as the Principal Investigator on the study results being presented. I have been doing teaching and research around environmental health concerns for many years.
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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