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Public Health Law

Law is an important tool in public health practice. Public health law is an emerging discipline that combines elements from legal practice that are relevant to the work of health departments. Public health officials have many legal rights and responsibilities as they protect and promote the health of their communities. New partnerships between public health professionals and attorneys are emerging as they work jointly to balance individual rights and public responsibilities.

In the Spotlight
Public Health Law Workgroup Fact Sheet
NACCHO'S Public Health Law Workgroup

NACCHO's Public Health Law Workgroup aims to enhance local health officials' understanding of the laws, policies, and regulations that affect public health by developing resources and providing technical assistance. Workgroup membership comprises a diverse group of professionals, including LHD officials, attorneys, and national health agency directors. Funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) supports the workgroup.The Workgroup meets monthly to address emerging legal issues impacting LHDs. Recent discussions have focused on billing for services, reunification of minors, HIPAA privacy issues and legal issues surrounding pandemic response. Requests for the NACCHO Public Health Law Workgroup can be submitted via e-mail at Click here for additional information about the Public Health Law Workgroup.

Summary of the Internal Revenue Service’s April 5, 2013, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Community Health Needs Assessments for Charitable Hospital

Summarizes proposed regulations that provided guidance to charitable hospital organizations on the 501(r) community health needs assessment requirements and related excise tax and reporting requirements. More »

Public Health Law Training Tool
The Northwest Center for Public Health Practice developed an online training module drawn from the experience of public health officials and their attorneys. This training is designed to help public health professionals recognize legal issues, work effectively with legal counsel, and understand legal responsibilities and authority. More »
Zoning Changes Could Lead to Decreased Crime

In a recent study published in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, researchers found that zoning for residential land use could be a way to reduce crime rates in Los Angeles. Crime rates for city blocks zoned exclusively for commercial use were 45% higher than crime rates for city blocks zoned for either residential use or a mix of residential and commercial use. Read more about the study here. For a one-page brief on the study prepared by the Public Health Law Network, click here.


For more information on Public Health Law at NACCHO, please e-mail