Online Program

State legislative efforts to eliminate health disparities, 2002-2011

Monday, November 4, 2013

Jessica Young, PhD Candidate, MS, Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Despite significant improvements in life expectancy and quality of life over the past century, health among some racial and ethnic populations in the United States remains a paradox. Since the 1985 Heckler Report, which highlighted to significant and persistent inequalities in health outcomes among non-White populations, states have sought ways to use the legislative process to address health disparities. We conducted a systematic national review of proposed and enacted legislation between 2002-2011 targeting racial and ethnic health disparities to understand how states have used their legislative powers to address health disparities. State bills were identified using a standardized search protocol in LexisNexis. Relevant characteristics of each bill in the dataset were retrieved, such as date introduced, date of last action, description of last action taken (i.e., enacted, failed in committee, etc.), target population (i.e., African Americans or Blacks, Asians, Hispanics, etc.), targeted disease or condition (i.e., diabetes, obesity, etc.), and policy tools (i.e., data collection, task force or coalition, reporting, etc.). Discussion will focus on characterizations of failed and enacted bills, such as patterns within and across states. Preliminary themes suggest policy diffusion across states and reliance upon task forces, commissions, and Offices of Minority Health and related entities to focus efforts on eliminating health disparities. This presentation targets public health practitioners and researchers to provide an understanding of recent legislative developments focusing on health disparities and to illustrate the significance of studying legislative bills as a part of public health law research.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify patterns in state legislative activities to address health disparities across time and geography. Describe similarities and differences between successful and failed bills targeting health disparities.

Keyword(s): Public Health Legislation, Health Disparities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conducted the data collection and analysis for this study. I have also collaborated on several other public health law research studies and health disparities research projects during my doctoral training.
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.