• The Potential for State Attorneys General to Promote the Public's Health: Theory, Evidence, and Practice

      Center for Public Health Law Research (Temple University Beasley School of Law) (2010-10)
      The Attorneys General of the 50 states have considerable legal authority to protect the public’s health, yet their role in the development of health policy is often under-appreciated or misunderstood. This article analyses state Attorneys’ General current powers and provides a logic model that illustrates how the use of these powers can lead to the protection and promotion of the public’s health. The article then provides four brief case studies, to demonstrate how state Attorneys General have used their varied powers to influence policy-making and benefit the public’s health. In addition, this article offers a roadmap for research that could be conducted to better understand the association between state Attorneys’ General actions and the protection of the public’s health. The article concludes with a series of recommendations intended to enhance state Attorneys’ General ability to protect the public’s health, along with suggestions for future research in this area.
    • Mental Illness, Law, And A Public Health Law Research Agenda

      Center for Public Health Law Research (Temple University Beasley School of Law) (2010-12)
    • Police Interventions with Persons Affected by Mental Illnesses

      Center for Public Health Law Research (Temple University Beasley School of Law) (2011-03-09)
      Mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders constitute a global public health problem of enormous proportions. Developing and implementing cost-effective interventions to improve the lives of people with mental illnesses and comorbid substance abuse disorders remains a challenge for multiple, interfacing service systems, from public health to social welfare to law enforcement, the courts, and corrections. This monograph illuminates one key component of these systems, policing, highlighting the role of police officers as front-line workers in the community. We examine trends in thinking and practice and common challenges surrounding policing and mental illnesses internationally. We suggest that police organizations (and their community and research partners) should not be uncritically accepting of existing intervention models without first engaging in a ‘Problem-Oriented Policing’ approach, designed so that available resources inter-lock to address the problems identified in particular geographical areas. We also examine challenges associated with implementing these steps, such as the need for police, health practitioners, and academic partners to collaborate in developing better and more integrated data collection systems to track health-related outcomes. Such extensive analysis, we argue, is fundamental to the development of tailored police interventions for persons affected by mental illnesses.
    • Mandatory Testing of Radon Levels in For-Sale Homes

      Center for Public Health Law Research (Temple University Beasley School of Law) (2012-04-24)
      The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that approximately 21,000 lung cancer cases per year in the United States are caused by exposure to radon gas in homes. In this Critical Opportunities presentation, Adam Finkel, ScD, from the University of Pennsylvania, suggests laws that require all sellers in high-level counties to test for and disclose radon levels as a condition of sale. He also suggests laws that require that ventilation fans be installed at the seller’s expense when tests reveal radon levels above the actionable level.
    • Strengthening State Physical Education Requirements

      Center for Public Health Law Research (Temple University Beasley School of Law) (2012-04-24)
      Early childhood physical activity can prevent chronic disease says Scott Hays, PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He advises that setting high standards to strengthen state physical education requirements can assure that people are more physically fit.
    • Eliminate Dishonesties in the FDA Food Label

      Center for Public Health Law Research (Temple University Beasley School of Law) (2012-04-24)
      Stricter requirements for labeling regulations could eliminate dishonesties in FDA food labeling, according to Adam Finkel, ScD, University of Pennsylvania. Finkel proposes four key ways the FDA could amend its labeling regulations. These amendments would allow more information disclosure that enables the public to make more informed decisions about the food they are consuming.
    • Using Legal Efforts to Increase Childhood Vaccination Rates

      Center for Public Health Law Research (Temple University Beasley School of Law) (2012-04-24)
      Half of all U.S. states have increasing childhood vaccination exemption rates, according to Tanya Karwaki, JD and Patricia Kuszler, MD, JD, from the University of Washington School of Law. Karwaki and Kuszler propose that enacting laws to make exemptions more difficult to obtain could improve public health outcomes.
    • Reducing Crime by Encouraging Residential Zoning in Commercial Areas

      Center for Public Health Law Research (Temple University Beasley School of Law) (2012-04-24)
      In this Critical Opportunities presentation, James Anderson, JD, from RAND Corporation, explains how city blocks that have some land parcels zoned for residential use experience substantially less crime than blocks that are zoned only for commercial or industrial uses. He suggests encouraging residential zoning in commercial areas as a way to reduce crime.
    • Exploring the relationship between foot and car patrol in violent crime areas

      Center for Public Health Law Research (Temple University Beasley School of Law) (2013-03-01)
      Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to describe how the Philadelphia Police Department instituted a large-scale randomized controlled trial of foot patrol as a policing strategy and experienced 23 percent fewer violent crimes during the treatment period. The authors examine whether activities patrol officers were conducting might have produced the crime reduction. The activities of foot and car patrol officers research takes a closer look at what types are examined separately and differences between car patrol activities pre-intervention and during the intervention are explored. Activities of foot versus car patrol officers during the study period are compared across treatment and control areas. Design/methodology/approach: Official data on police officer activity are used to compare activities conducted by foot patrol officers with those by car patrol officers in 60 treatment (foot beat) and 60 control areas consisting of violent crime hot spots. Activities of car patrol officers are described preintervention and during the intervention. Foot patrol officers’ activities are described within treatment and control areas during the treatment phase of the experiment. Car patrol officers’ activities are reported separately. The statistical significance of changes in car patrol activity pre and during intervention is evaluated using a series of mixed model ANOVAs. Findings: There were noticeable differences in the activities conducted by foot and car patrol. Foot patrol officers spent most of their time initiating pedestrian stops and addressing disorder incidents, while car patrol officers handled the vast majority of reported crime incidents. Car patrol activity declined in both treatment and control areas during the intervention but there was no statistically significant difference between the treatment and the control areas. Research limitations/implications: The major limitation of this study is the restricted set of data describing officer activity that is captured by official records. Future studies should include a more robust ethnographic component to better understand the broad spectrum of police activity in order to more effectively gauge the ways in which foot patrol and carbased officers’ activities interact to address community safety. This understanding can help extend the literature on “coproduction” by highlighting the safety partnerships that may develop organically across individual units within a police organization. Practical implications: The study provides evidence that individual policing strategies undertaken by agencies impact one another. When implementing and evaluating new programs, it would be beneficial for police managers and researchers to consider the impact on activities of the dominant patrol style, as necessary, to understand how a specific intervention might have achieved its goal or why it might have failed to show an effect. Originality/value: The research contributes to the understanding of the separate and joint effects of foot and car patrol on crime. In addition, it provides police managers with a clearer picture of the ways in which foot patrol police and car based officers work to co-produce community safety in violent inner city areas.
    • Reducing Traumatic Brain Injuries in Youth Sports: Youth Sports Traumatic Brain Injury State Laws, January 2009–December 2012

      Center for Public Health Law Research (Temple University Beasley School of Law) (2013-07)
      Objectives. I sought to describe current state-wide youth sports traumatic brain injury (TBI) laws and their relationship to prevailing scientific understandings of youth sports TBIs, and to facilitate further research by creating an open-source data set of current laws. Methods. I used Westlaw and LexisNexis databases to create a 50-state data set of youth sports TBI laws enacted between January 2009 and December 2012. I collected and coded the text and citations of each law and developed a protocol and codebook to facilitate future research. Results. Forty-four states and Washington, DC, passed youth sports TBI laws between 2009 and 2012. No state’s youth sports TBI law focuses on primary prevention. Instead, such laws focus on (1) increasing coaches’ and parents’ ability to identify and respond to TBIs and (2) reducing the immediate risk of multiple TBIs. Conclusions. Existing youth sports TBI laws were not designed to reduce initial TBIs. Evaluation is required to assess their effectiveness in reducing the risk and consequences of multiple TBIs. Continued research and evaluation of existing laws will be needed to develop a more comprehensive youth TBI-reduction solution.
    • Better Law and Policies to Reduce Gun Violence

      Center for Public Health Law Research (Temple University Beasley School of Law) (2013-10-17)
      In this Critical Opportunities presentation, Jeffrey Swanson, PhD, shares recommendations for the use of law to reduce the problem of gun violence. The recommendations are a package of policies that were originally presented at the Johns Hopkins Gun Policy Summit in January 2013. They include: fixing the background check system, modifying the list of gun-prohibited persons, fixing the mental health criteria for gun ownership, reforming dealer licensing and penalties for gun trafficking, requiring personalized guns, banning assault weapons, and increasing federal funding for gun violence research.
    • Mountain Dew Mouth: Prevention & Education to Undo the Dental Damage of the Dew

      Center for Public Health Law Research (Temple University Beasley School of Law) (2013-10-17)
      Dana Singer, JD, research analyst at the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department, suggests in her Critical Opportunities presentation that banning these drinks in schools, limiting the product size, posting warning signs, as well as prohibiting SNAP dollars from being spent on sugar-sweetened beverages are ways law could be used to improve this considerable dental health problem.
    • Law as Barrier and Facilitator to Opioid Overdose Prevention

      Center for Public Health Law Research (Temple University Beasley School of Law) (2013-10-17)
      Prescription drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death. In his Critical Opportunities presentation, Corey Davis, JD, staff attorney at the Network for Public Health Law, suggests that easier access to opioid overdose reversal drugs like naloxone could help prevent overdose deaths.
    • Local Integrated Governance (LIG) and a New Role or Local Public Health

      Center for Public Health Law Research (Temple University Beasley School of Law) (2013-10-17)
      Local integrated government could improve public health by streamlining activities and creating a more efficient and effective local government, according to Scott Hays, PhD, in his Critical Opportunities presentation. Hays offers five keys to establishing local integrated government, and provides evidence to support the value of adopting this system.
    • Graduated Driver’s License Decal Laws for Novice Teen Drivers

      Center for Public Health Law Research (Temple University Beasley School of Law) (2013-10-17)
      New Jersey is the first state in the United States to require novice drivers to put a red reflective decal on their license plate as part of their graduated driver’s license law. The decals signal the young driver’s probationary status to other drivers and law enforcement. A study by Allison Curry, PhD, MPH and her colleagues at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia found that New Jersey’s law has prevented more than 1,600 crashes and helped police officers enforce regulations unique to new drivers. Decal laws could be an opportunity to further enhance the effectiveness of state level graduated driver’s licensing programs, Curry explains in her presentation.
    • Taxation of Alcoholic Beverages

      Center for Public Health Law Research (Temple University Beasley School of Law) (2013-10-17)
      Because alcohol taxes have not been adjusted for inflation, spirits only cost one-fifth of what they used to cost in the 1950’s, leading to a host of alcohol-related injury and disease. In the United States, 80,000 deaths per year and 1.6 million hospitalizations per year are attributable to alcohol consumption. Alexander Wagenaar, PhD, professor at University of Florida, suggests in his Critical Opportunities presentation that doubling the rate of alcohol taxes and building in automatic annual adjustments for inflation could help solve some of these alcohol-related public health issues.
    • The Model Aquatic Health Code

      Center for Public Health Law Research (Temple University Beasley School of Law) (2013-10-17)
      People in the United States make more than 300 million trips to pools each year, but there is no federal regulatory authority governing the health and safety of swimmers, and the current patchwork of state and local laws are often not science-based. Jasen Kunz, JD, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suggests in his Critical Opportunities presentation that the Model Aquatic Health Code provides sample evidence-based guidelines that can be adopted to help reduce rates of pool-related injuries and illness.
    • Using the Law to Improve Access to Primary Care

      Center for Public Health Law Research (Temple University Beasley School of Law) (2013-10-17)
      Americans today have difficulty accessing primary care. Nurse practitioners could supplement the care provided by general practitioner physicians, and remove a barrier to care that would improve health outcomes and save money, explains Jamie Ware, JD, MSW, in her Critical Opportunities presentation.
    • Ensure That "Smart Disclosures" in Lieu of Regulation are Complete and Accurate

      Center for Public Health Law Research (Temple University Beasley School of Law) (2013-10-17)
      “Smart disclosures” are meant to empower consumers to make smart purchasing decisions by providing them with information about products, such as food nutrition labels or automobile fuel economy labels. But Adam Finkel, ScD explains in his Critical Opportunities presentation that these disclosures are often misleading, inaccurate, incomplete or nonexistent. To be valuable tools for consumers, Finkel suggests that smart disclosures would need to be updated and reevaluated for relevance, accuracy and clarity.
    • Corn Masa Flour Fortification for the Prevention of Neural Tube Defects

      Center for Public Health Law Research (Temple University Beasley School of Law) (2013-10-17)
      Neural tube defects, such as spina bifida or anencephaly, affect 3,000 babies in the United States each year. The majority of these cases can be prevented by taking folic acid throughout pregnancy, through diet or other supplements, or through the fortification of food. Because many grains in the United States are enriched with folic acid, there have been declines in neural tube defects. However, many staple foods in Hispanic communities are made from corn flour, which is not fortified. Hispanic populations also see greater rates of neural tube defects. In their Critical Opportunities presentation, Erica Reott, MPH and Lt. Cmdr. Kinzie Lee, MPH, make the case that fortifying corn flour could improve health outcomes and reduce disparities among Hispanic women and their babies.