State Health Policy

ASTHO supports our members and their health departments with public health policy research and analysis.

Policy Academy

State and territorial health department leaders are critical in developing evidence-based public health policy but may not be familiar with the policy-making process. The State Health Policy team hosts ASTHO’s Policy Academy, which assists public health leaders in identifying and implementing policies that support public health and familiarizes participants with the policy development process so they can better leverage it to improve public health outcomes.

Legal Research and Analysis

The State Health Policy team also provides legal research and analysis, identifies existing statutes and regulations, and monitors litigation in state and federal courts. Part of that work includes ASTHO's Legal Mapping Center, which currently highlights laws that may prevent overdose and help fight the opioid epidemic. 

In collaboration with other ASTHO teams, State Health Policy’s legal work ranges from assessing the legal framework for public health data sharing to considering Constitutional questions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Peer Networks

ASTHO’s State Health Policy team facilitates two peer networks:

  • Public Health Lawyers Peer Network, which includes attorneys that represent state/territorial health departments on a wide range of matters. Through the peer network, attorneys share information and best practices with other jurisdictions.
  • The State/Territorial Legislative Liaison Peer Network includes state/territorial employees who serve as liaison between the public health agency and state/territorial legislature. The legislative liaisons meet periodically to share information and best practices for promoting public health policies among state/territorial legislatures.

Legislative Tracking and Analysis

Our state health policy team regularly tracks public health legislation across the states and territories to identify trends and emerging issues. With the support of the Health Policy Workgroup, a collaboration of ASTHO staff with expertise in a variety of public health issues, State Health Policy identifies thousands of public health-related bills before the state and territorial legislatures and monitors the progress of the legislation. This legislative tracking and analysis support a variety of ASTHO products, including our health policy blogs, issue briefs, and reports.

We also publish a Legislative Prospectus series every year in advance of the new legislative session. Each prospectus provides an overview of a public health issue, related legislation considered in the states and territories, and anticipated actions for the upcoming legislative session.

Would you like to get your state involved in any of these peer groups?

Email the State Health Policy team

Latest State Health Policy Resources

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States Assessing and Mitigating Risks of Agencies Using Artificial Intelligence

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Public Health Authority Toolkit

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Policies Supporting Young Families Can Reduce Adverse Childhood Experiences

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Preventing Firearm Injury and Death with Safe and Secure Storage Policies

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Overdose Prevention Policy Considerations: A Policy Playbook for State and Territorial Health Officials and Agencies

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Legislative Action Bridging Public Health and Clinical Healthcare

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