Public Health Law

Partnership for Public Health Law

The Partnership for Public Health Law is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation collaborative of: the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, the American Public Health Association, the National Association of County and City Health Officials, and the National Association of Local Boards of Health. The Partnership seeks to improve health outcomes through greater understanding and use of law in public health practice. The Partnership has created several resources to help increase the knowledge and use of law among the organizations and their members.

Legal Memoranda

Legal Issues Related to Sharing of Clinical Health Data with Public Health Agencies
The efficient and useful transfer of clinical health data from primary care providers to a state or local health agency can help the agency provide essential services that promote and protect the public’s health. This memorandum discusses the importance and benefits of sharing clinical data with public health agencies, reviews the legal issues related to the sharing of the data, and provides recommendations to encourage the sharing of data with public health agencies.

Overview of the Cross-Jurisdictional Sharing of IIS Data
This resource provides a discussion of the legal issues of the cross-jurisdictional sharing of state immunization information system (IIS) data.

Opportunities for Maximizing Revenue and Access to Care for Immigrant Populations
Community Health Centers (CHC) and Local Health Departments (LHD) continue to see increased demand from immigrants for primary and public healthcare and services. This memo identifies some of the barriers that make it difficult for immigrants to access care and services, and highlights best practices CHCs and LHDs can use to address those barriers. Additionally, the memo provides examples of state and local programs that may be available to compensate CHCs and LHDs for providing care to vulnerable populations.

A Public Health Legal Guide to Safe Drinking Water
Protecting drinking water from contamination is critical to safeguard public health. This guide, funded through the Partnership for Public Health Law and produced by student attorneys in the Public Health Law Clinic at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law, provides public health officials with information, best practices, and case studies on drinking water issues. Specifically, the guide addresses major federal laws affecting drinking water, identifies threats to a safe drinking water supply in public systems and private wells, and provides practical recommendations to best educate the public, mitigate risks, and respond to a contamination.


Public Health Interjurisdictional Immunization Information System Memorandum of Understanding Template (Word)
This resource provides a template for a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for secure, electronic exchange of immunization information among governmental entities that operate a population-based Immunization Information System (IIS).

Fact Sheets

What is Public Health Law?
This resource provides an overview of public health law and its use as a tool improve health, identifies the sources of public health law, and explains state government police power.

Due Process and Public Health
This resource provides an overview of the limitations imposed on public health officials' power through the Due Process Clause and the Fourth Amendment and discusses ensuring that actions do not interfere with an individual's liberty and property interests.

Overview of Food Safety
This resource discusses how state and local public health authorities address foodborne illness through disease surveillance, outbreak investigation, and food safety control measures.

Overview of Nuisance Law
This resource defines and discusses the concept of public health nuisance, provides examples of specified types of nuisance, and discusses local government's role in addressing nuisance.

Regulation of Synthetic Drugs
This resource defines synthetic cannabinoids and synthetic cathinones, provides an overview of federal laws applicable to synthetic drugs as well as actions taken at the state and local level to address this burgeoning problem.

Federal Protection of Personal Health Information
This resources discusses who is covered by HIPAA, what type of information is protected, the public health exception, security measures to prevent unauthorized access to electronic protected health information as well as state laws and preemption.