Online Program

Policy surveillance and the many ways it can be used to expand the capacity of the public health community

Monday, November 2, 2015

Sarah Happy, JD, Public Health Law Research, Philadelphia, PA
David Presley, JD, Policy Surveillance Program, Philadelphia, PA
Lindsay Foster, JD, Public Health Law Research is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It is housed at the Temple University Beasley School of Law., Public Health Law Research, Philadelphia, PA
Law is an important and powerful element of public health practice, and policy surveillance, the systematic collection and analysis of laws and policies, has emerged as the most efficient and cost effective means of creating scientific legal data for evaluation, enabling practitioners to track laws across jurisdictions and over time. In order to facilitate policy surveillance Public Health Law Research has created an innovative tool that makes policy surveillance easier and more efficient, thereby enhancing the policy capacity in the public health workforce.

The strength of this innovative, web-based tool is its flexibility and three projects completed using it illustrate the ways this technology can be used to increase the legal capacity of the public health community. The first, a collaboration between Public Health Law Research and Nebraska Department of Health, illustrates how this tool can be used to collect and display laws and regulations related to one institutions core mission at the state, county and city level, and make that information available to the public health workforce. The second, the creation of a Prescription Drug Abuse Policy System for the National Institution of Drug Abuse illustrates the way data can displayed using an application program interface to create policy surveillance systems related to a specific topic, keeping stakeholders, researchers and policymakers informed about the state of the law. Finally, a series of datasets regarding civil commitment will be discussed to show how this technology can be used to comprehensively cover a topic across jurisdictions.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Explain the value of policy surveillance and its ability to efficiently and systematically improve laws and their impact on population health. Describe how the new technology developed for LawAtlas aids in the process of policy surveillance. Show the many ways LawAtlas can be used to conduct policy surveillance.

Keyword(s): Law, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the senior policy surveillance manager at the Public Health Law Research program overseeing all internal and external policy surveillance projects, including: series of datasets covering civil commitment laws, and a project in conjunction with the Nebraska Department of Health to collect and display laws related to Nebraska's public health work force.
Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
Public Health Law Research Public Health Employment (includes retainer)

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.