June 2011 - CDC Public Health Law News
Thursday, June 17, 2011
From the Public Health Law Program,
Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support,
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
From the Public Health Law Program, Office of Strategy and Innovation, CDC
***New website. The National Health Law Program (NHeLP) and the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law have launched a new website providing information for the litigation challenging the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The website includes a schedule for all actions in all cases challenging the ACA; a compilation of briefs, motions, orders, and judgments as they are filed; notable Supreme Court precedents on the issues that are at the heart of the litigation; and state ballot initiatives, legislation, and litigation related to the ACA. The website address is http://www.healthlawandlitigation.com/.
***Privacy Rule and Disclosure of Records. On May 10, 2011, the New York Court of Appeals held that the HIPAA Privacy Rule bars the disclosure of medical records to a health agency for use in compelling a patient to receive mental health treatment. A physician designee of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene applied for an order requiring mental health treatment for his patient, who challenged the offering of his medical records in evidence without his authorization. Because the disclosure of medical records for this purpose was outside the scope of the public health exception to the Privacy Rule, the Court agreed in its opinion, In the Matter of Miguel M. (Barron), available here: http://courts.state.ny.us/Reporter/3dseries/2011/2011_03886.htm
***Tobacco Control Legal Update. The Tobacco Control Legal Consortium has released The Consortium Bulletin, a monthly electronic news feature. The June 2011 edition features resources on the Equal Protection Clause, the Void-for-Vagueness Doctrine, and a commentary on a challenge to a Missouri Smoke-free Outdoor Law. To read the Bulletin, visit http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?llr=kgavj6dab&v=001OgUuqzYELsdYHZPtBrZUGl3-2qSQyFJ_QcV6_pIsokG7sPhD2Mr-haKhOx47t3a72PorWgFHlwf_AZI8gHDQWsQ-C313F-C0.
***International Diploma in Mental Health Law. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Indian Law Society have announced a one year program in Mental Health Law in Pune, India. The International Diploma in Mental Health Law is designed to provide students with knowledge and understanding of international human rights standards as they relate to people with mental disabilities, enabling them to apply the technical knowledge to the development of mental health legislation. For more information, visit http://www.mentalhealthlaw.in/.
***Public Health Emergency Declaration. On May 23, 2011, U.S Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius declared a public health emergency for Missouri in the aftermath of severe storms and tornadoes. The action enables the Secretary to ensure that beneficiaries of the Medicare, Medicaid, and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), continue to receive services during this emergency. To read the declaration, visit http://www.hhs.gov/secretary/phe05232011.html. [Editor's Note: President Obama signed disaster declarations for Alabama and Georgia after they were struck by severe storms and tornadoes in April. For more information, visit http://www.fema.gov/news/disasters.fema.]
1. Storms create a scramble to install shelters
States and Localities
2. California: Despite State law, teens miss out on PE
3. California: Efforts to ban circumcision gain traction in California
4. California: Woman selling 'suicide kits' reignites right-to-die debate
5. Breaches lead to push to protect medical data
California elder abuse • Maryland 'popcorn lung' • Texas bacterial meningitis • Washington immunization rate • National C. diff drug • FDA warning letters • FDA superbug suit • Sunscreen labels • Hookah laws • USDA pork guidelines • Cilantro pesticides • FDA birth control review • Germany E. coli sprouts • International Google dengue fever tracking
Tobacco misinformation • State cell phone laws • Same-sex marriage • Pre-exposure prophylaxis • International vaccine policies • FDA menthol report • Undocumented immigrants • Menthol cigarettes
California child maltreatment • Indiana Equal Protection challenge • Iowa public intoxication statute • Louisiana noise exposure • Massachusetts private intoxication conviction • New York smoking as private nuisance • Oklahoma multistate licensure of nurses • West Virginia scope of practice violation • Federal referral statute • Recalled meat • Antitrust and cancer therapy • Correctional facial shaving • Contamination cleanup costs • State environmental preemption
Quotation of the Month
Jenna Troutman, mother, Santa Monica, California
This Month's Feature
Profiles in Public Health Law: Matthew Penn, CDC Public Health Law Program Director
"Storms create a scramble to install shelters"
New York Times (05/25/2011) Kim Severson
In the wake of what may be the deadliest tornado season in United States History, many people are scrambling to build storm shelters. The majority of homeowners are installing the shelters electively because there are few government regulations mandating storm shelters, and those that exist are inconsistent.
Minnesota and Kansas require storm shelters near mobile home parks. Other areas, like Williamson County, Illinois, commandeer churches or schools to serve as volunteer shelters. Alabama, devastated by recent tornadoes, passed a law this year requiring new school buildings to include a shelter in their construction, but residents are not required to build their own storm shelters.
Mayor William Bell of Birmingham, Alabama, summed up the issue saying, "People in Alabama get very sensitive when you start to talk about government mandating certain things. If you are going to put a mandate on people, how are you going to help them pay for it?"
Even though droves of people are currently buying storm shelters, most municipal building codes do not give guidelines for safe shelter construction or requirements. Many shelters on the market, costing between $3,000 for a concrete bunker to tens of thousands of dollars for elaborate steel rooms, do not meet even minimum safety standards.
Dr. Ernst Kiesling, professor of civil engineering at Texas Tech University and executive director of the National Storm Shelter Association, indicates safe room or shelters should include at least three deadbolts on the doors and walls that can withstand 100 mile per hour debris assaults, as well as being anchored to concrete pads, or if designed to be buried underground, designed not to collapse.
For over a decade the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been encouraging states to use disaster relief money to help offset the costs of installing storm shelters, paying up to 75 percent of the costs for an approved shelter. After Hurricane Katrina, Mississippi took FEMA up on their offer, receiving $6.6 million to help pay for hundreds of new shelters.
[Editor's note: to read the Minnesota law, please visit: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=327.205&year=2010&keyword_type=all&keyword=storm+shelter; to learn more about FEMA shelter guidelines, please visit: http://www.fema.gov/plan/prevent/saferoom/fema320.shtm]
"Despite state law, teens miss out on PE"
California Watch (06/1/2011) Erica Perez
California state law requires schools to provide middle school and high school student with 400 minutes of physical education every 10 day period, roughly 13 percent of every two week period. A report released by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Center for Health Policy Research, based on the 2007 California Health Interview Survey, found that about 38 percent of students, ages 12 to 17, avoid PE during the school week and 80% of California teens fail to meet the current recommendations for physical activity.
Reports released by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), revealing that physical activity is linked to higher levels of health-related fitness, lower risk of developing chronic diseases, and increased mental alertness, make the study's findings particularly troubling. Allison L. Diamant, co-author of the study, said "The danger I see is especially among juniors and seniors in high school. It's at that point in time that they're really settling down into behaviors that will continue into adulthood."
Murry Schekman, assistant superintendent of secondary schools for the Pajaro Valley Unified School District in Watsonville, California, was surprised to find Santa Cruz County among the lowest scoring. "We think the PE curriculum is solid. We have huge issues here in the valley with diabetes. Where we may have less offerings is (grades) 10 through 12," said Schekman.
In December 2010, the California Court of Appeal ruled that parents can sue their children's public school for administrative failure to provide the minimum amount of required physical education. Though the California Board of Education agreed with the plaintiffs in that case, the Board also indicated the state is too poor to enforce the requirements.
"We have always had the view that the minutes are required. Unfortunately, due to the state budget crisis, we've never been funded to do the monitoring. It is up to local districts to comply with the law," said Hilary McLean, spokeswoman for the California Department of Education.
[Editor's note: to read the California Law or California Court of Appeals opinion, please visit: http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/ms/po/policy99-03-june1999.asp; http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/archive/C063271.PDF ; to read reports by DHHS and the CDC, please visit: http://www.health.gov/PAguidelines/Report/pdf/A_summary.pdf; http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/health_and_academics/pdf/pa-pe_paper.pdf]
"Efforts to ban circumcision gain traction in California"
New York Times (06/04/2011) Jennifer Medina
A measure making it illegal to perform circumcision on anyone under the age of 18 within the Santa Monica, California, city limits will be on the November 2012 voting ballot. Anti-circumcision activists collected more than 7,100 signatures to get the measure onto the ballot.
Matthew Hess, of San Diego, wrote the two bills. Hess says, "This is the furthest we've gotten, and it is a huge step for us. This is a conversation we are long overdue to have in this country. The end goal for us is making cutting boys' foreskin a federal crime."
Others feel the measure is not only unnecessary, but would also be a violation of religious freedoms, particularly for those of Jewish and Muslim faith who believe circumcision fulfills a divine commandment. For some the law is terrifyingly similar to bans on circumcision that existed in Soviet-era Russia and Eastern Europe.
"People are shocked that it has reached this level because there has never been this kind of a direct assault on a Jewish practice here. This something that American Jews have always taken for granted- that something that was so contested elsewhere but here, we're safe we're secure," said Marc Stern, associate general counsel for the American Jewish Committee, and advocacy group.
Medical groups approach the issue neutrally, maintaining the practice is not harmful and there is not enough scientific evidence to determine it is indispensable. Though precise numbers are not known, studies indicate that currently 30 to 50 percent of all male infants are circumcised.
"Woman selling 'suicide kits' reignites right-to-die debate"
Los Angeles Times (05/30/2011) Richard Marosi
In May 2011, Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) agents raided 91-year-old Sharlotte Hydorn's home as part of an ongoing investigation on possible fraud or other violations, including the sale of adulterated and mishandled medical devices. Hydorn sells suicide kits for $60.00 apiece over the internet.
Hydorn's kits include clear plastic bags and medical-grade tubing. Her customers are instructed to place the bag over their heads and connect the tubing from the bag to a helium tank. During the raid FBI agents seized dozens of Hydorn's butterfly-decorated boxes, which ship all over the world.
Hydorn drew FBI attention after one of the suicide kits she sells online was found over the head of a 29-year-old man from Eugene, Oregon. In Oregon, assisted suicide is legal under certain conditions, but law makers have introduced a bill that would outlaw any device sold with the intent that another person use it to commit suicide.
After watching her husband die of colon cancer, Hydorn, a retired elementary school teacher, believes her products are a more merciful option. "People commit suicide by jumping out of window and buildings, and hanging themselves." Her product, she says, ends lives peacefully, leaving people "eternally sleepy."
Others including Alan Berman, executive director of the American Association for Suicidology, a suicide-prevention program, feel her device is reckless. "What if this was a young person masquerading as an adult? What if this was a person with a totally treatable psychological condition who was not otherwise given the opportunity to get treatment? She's not evaluating who she is providing the product. Clearly, she's doing no due diligence to defend her behavior as compassionate," said Berman.
"Breaches lead to push to protect medical data"
New York Times (05/30/2011) Milt Freudenheim
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) maintains a list of doctors, hospitals and insurance companies that have reported breaches of private health information of 500 people or more in recent years. Such breaches are may be impeding the Obama administrations' efforts to shift the nation to electronic health care records.
"People need to be assured that their health records are secure and private. I feel equally strongly that conversion to electronic health records may be one of the most transformative issues in the delivery of health care, lowering medical errors, reducing costs and helping to improve the quality of outcomes," Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of health and human services, said of the issue.
Many experts wonder if the current information protection rules are enough, even as the administration works with renewed effort to enforce them. Joe L. Barton, co-chairman of the Bipartisan Privacy Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives expressed his concerns saying, "The health care industry is not as vigilant as they should be about protecting private information in a patient's medical records."
In efforts to discourage leaks and demand higher privacy protections, the Obama administration has levied a string of stringent penalties for egregious violations under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, of 1996. This past March, the Office of Civil Rights within DHHS, which took over HIPAA enforcement, imposed a $1 million fine on Massachusetts General Hospital after a hospital employee left paper records of 192 patients on a Boston subway train.
[Editor's Note: Please visit the DHHS for more information about providers at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/administrative/breachnotificationrule/breachtool.html
To read HIPAA, please visit http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/]
California: Elder abuse questions and legal implications grow as nation ages
"Death of 91-year-old spotlights line between care and killing"
Los Angeles Times (06/02/2011) Maria L. La Ganga
Georgia: Georgia without hospital associated infection reporting statutes
"Georgians kept in dark on hospital infections"
Atlanta Journal Constitution (06/13/2011) Carrie Teegardin
Maryland: "Popcorn lung" suit cooks up an award of $814,500
"Baltimore county plant worker awarded $814,500 for "popcorn lung"
Baltimore Sun (06/01/2011) Meredith Cohn
Texas: Bacterial meningitis law expanded, all college students under 30 yrs. must be immunized
"Families gratified by new state meningitis law"
Houston Chronicle (06/02/2011) Cindy George
Washington: New state law makes it easier to opt out of kindergarten immunizations
"State leads nation in kids who aren't getting vaccines"
Seattle Times (06/03/2011) Emily Heffter
National: FDA approves drug to treat Clostridium difficile, a hospital borne infection
"FDA approves drug to treat hospital scourge"
New York Times (05/27/2100) Andrew Pollack
National: FDA issues warning letters to online retailers illegally marketing tobacco products
"FDA takes action against illegal marketing of tobacco products"
Medical News Today (05/25/2011)
National: Obama administration extends reduced premiums for preexisting conditions
"Government to lower prices, ease rules on health plans for people with preexisting conditions"
Los Angeles times (06/01/2011) Noam N. Levey
National: Suit against FDA alleges antibiotics in animal feed lead to drug-resistant "superbugs"
"Groups fearing superbugs in meat sue FDA"
Reuters (05/25/2011) Emily Stephenson
National: New sunscreen labeling requirements burn those without "broad spectrum" coverage
"New rules to cut confusion on sunscreen claims"
National: States look to ban or limit hookah bars in latest assault in ever-shifting war on tobacco
"Putting a crimp in the hookah"
New York Times (05/30/2011) Douglas Quenqua
National: USDA takes the heat off pork-cooking guidelines
"USDA announces new pork cooking guidelines"
CBS News (05/25/2011) Ryan Jaslow
National: Concerns grow as USDA testing finds unapproved pesticides on cilantro
"USDA testing finds 30-plus unapproved pesticides on the herb cilantro"
Los Angeles Times (05/31/2011) Monica Eng
National: Birth control drugs with hormone drospirenone may increase clots, FDA reviews
"U.S. orders reviews of risks of some birth control pills"
New York Times (05/31/2011) Bloomberg News
International: E. coli outbreak linked to German sprout farm, Spanish company sues Germany
"E. coli death toll rises to 31; sprouts traced to trash in home"
International: Tracking dengue fever-related searches in hopes of creating early warning system
"Google uses new tool to track dengue fever hubs"
BBC News (05/31/2011)
"Correcting over 50 years of Tobacco Industry misinformation"
American Journal of Preventive Medicine 06/2011 Philip Smith, et al.
http://www.ajpmonline.org/article/S0749-3797(11)00163-2/abstract (subscription required for full text)
"State laws restricting driver use of mobile communications devices"
American Journal of Preventive Medicine 06/2011 Jennifer K. Ibrahim, et al.
http://www.ajpmonline.org/article/S0749-3797(11)00164-4/abstract (subscription required for full text)
"Public health implications of same-sex marriage"
American Journal of Public Health 06/2011 William C. Buffie
"A US policy perspective on oral preexposure prophylaxis for HIV"
American Journal of Public Health 06/2011 Arleen A. Leibowitz, Karen Byrnes Parker, and Mary Jane Rotheram-Borus
"Challenges to building capacity for evidence-based new vaccine policy in developing countries"
Health Affairs 06/2011 Jon Kim Andrus, et al.
"A lost opportunity for public health — the FDA Advisory Committee Report on Menthol"
New England Journal of Medicine 06/09/2011 Michael Siegel
"Survivors — dialysis, immigration, and U.S. law"
New England Journal of Medicine 06/09/2011 Rajeev Raghavan and Ricardo Nuila
"The threat of menthol cigarettes to U.S. public health"
New England Journal of Medicine 06/09/2011 Neal L. Benowitz and Jonathan M. Samet
California: Removal of minors for issues of child maltreatment upheld
In re Frederick B.
Court of Appeals of California, First District, Division Four
Case No. A129254
Filed May 11, 2011
Opinion by Judge Reardon
Indiana: Equal protection challenge to city's financing of sewer improvements dismissed
City of Indianapolis, et al. v. Armour, et al.
Supreme Court of Indiana
Case No. 49S02-1007-CV-402
Filed May 10, 2011
Opinion by Justice Sullivan
Iowa: Statute defining public intoxication not void for vagueness and conviction upheld
State v. Saul
Court of Appeals of Iowa
Case No. 1-274/10-1442
Filed May 25, 2011
Opinion by Senior Judge Huitink
Louisiana: Damages for long-term occupational noise exposure affirmed
Becker, et al. v. Murphy Oil Corporation
Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit
Case No. 2010-CA-1519
Decided June 2, 2011
Opinion by Judge Belsome
Massachusetts: Conviction for driving under the influence in private parking area reversed
Comonwealth v. Virgilio
Massachusetts Appeals Court
Case No. 10-P-519
Decided May 24, 2011
Opinion by Justice Fecteau
New York: Complaint alleging private cause of action for secondhand smoke exposure dismissed
Ewen, et al. v. Maccherone, et al.
Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Term, First Department
Case No. 570457/10
Decided May 26, 2011
Opinion per curiam
Oklahoma: Multistate licensure privilege for nurses is unlawful delegation of state police power
In re Question Submitted by Glazier
Opinion no. 2011 OK AG 4
Decided May 27, 2011
Opinion by E. Scott Pruitt, Attorney General of Oklahoma
West Virginia: Board's Administrative Order on scope of practice violation reinstated
West Virginia Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy Technology Board of Examiners v. Harrison
Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, January 2011 Term
Case No. 101150
Filed May 26, 2011
Opinion per curiam
Federal: Florida statute prohibiting self-interested medical referrals not preempted by federal law
Fresenius Medical Care Holdings, Inc. v. Francois
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, Tallahassee Division
Case No. 4:03cv411-SPM/GRJ
Decided May 27, 2011
Opinion by Chief District Judge Mickle
Federal: Summary judgments granted in part in contract and tort action related to recalled meat
General Mills Operations, LLC v. Five Star Custom Foods, Ltd.
U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota
Civ. No. 10-15 (RHK/JJG)
Decided May 20, 2011
Opinion by District Judge Kyle
Federal: Antitrust action over new form of cancer therapy dismissed
TPTCC NY, Inc., et al. v. Radiation Therapy Services, Inc., et al.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
Case No. 10 Civ. 7097 (JSR)
Decided May 16, 2011
Opinion by District Judge Rakoff
Federal: Inmate complaint alleging unsanitary facial shaving per agency policy dismissed
Henslee v. Keller, et al.
U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, Statesville Division
Case No. 5:11-cv-50-RJC
Decided May 10, 2011
Opinion by District Judge Conrad
Federal: Injunction and damages for cost sharing of cleanup of toxins and carcinogens granted
Ashley II of Charleston, LLC v. PCS Nitrogen, Inc. v. Ross Development Corporation, et al.
U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, Charleston Division
Civil Action No. 2:05-cv-2782-MBS
Decided May 27, 2011
Opinion by District Judge Seymour
Federal: Decision on federal preemption of state environmental law reversed and remanded
United States, et al. v. Coalition for Buzzards Bay, et al.
U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
Case Nos. 10-1664, 10-1668
Decided May 17, 2011
Opinion by Circuit Judge Selya
__________PHL NEWS QUOTATION OF THE MONTH___________
"I am just a mom trying to save the little babies. I'd rather be on the beach, but nobody is talking about this, so I have to."
- - Jenna Troutman, one of the promoters of the circumcision ban in Santa Monica, California.
____________THIS MONTH'S FEATURE_____________
Title: Public Health Law Program Director
Organization: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health Law Program
Education: I obtained a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Georgia. I worked and played music for several years until I went back to school and received a Masters of Library and Information Sciences from the University of South Carolina. Toward the end of my library degree, I decided to try law school and eventually got my JD from the University of South Carolina's School of Law.
CDC Public Health Law News: What was your route to public health law?
My route to public health law began with two jobs during law school: clerking for the Office of General Counsel at the University of South Carolina and interning with the South Carolina Environmental Law Project. Working with these two organizations, I decided I would spend my legal career in public service and put my energy toward protecting the environment.
After law school and the bar exam, I had the opportunity to work as a Staff Attorney with the South Carolina Supreme Court. This position allowed me to study how the law directly interacts with people's lives and how cases work their way through the court system.
After my time at the Court, I accepted a position as a Staff Attorney with the Department of Health and Environmental Control, South Carolina's public health and environmental protection agency. In my first few years, I split my time between environmental litigation and traditional public health clients. Eventually, I sifted over to the preparedness and public health side of the agency. My public health clients within DHEC have been the Bureau of Environmental Health and the Bureau of Disease Control. For the past nine years, I have worked directly with front line public health professionals on traditional public health issues such as vaccine delivery and administration, sewage disposal, food protection, and disease investigations. I have also assisted DHEC's Office of Public Health Preparedness with issues ranging from procurement processing and contract negotiations to emergency operations planning and establishing a statewide system for volunteer health professionals.
Through in-house counsel and litigation services, I have learned how the larger mission of protecting the public's health is implemented at all levels – from developing policy to drafting legislation and from promulgating regulations to implementing legal standards on the front lines.
CDC Public Health Law News: What is your vision for the Public Health Law Program?
At the abstracted level, my vision involves two key concepts that will provide the foundation for the Program's work processes and products - Collaboration and Customer Service. I believe these concepts will help the Program further the mission of the Office of State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support and will hopefully drive the decisions the Program makes about all of our internal and external projects.
Focusing on Collaboration will necessarily build on one of the great and lasting virtues that Tony Moulton and Rick Goodman brought to the public health law community. I believe their work over the past ten years across the nation has created, expanded, and energized a community that is stronger than the sum of its parts. I plan to continue those efforts and not only work with the existing "players" but also to work toward bringing new and fresh voices to our discussions.
Focusing on Customer Service will channel our energies toward helping CDC and health departments solve real, identified, day-to-day problems that exist at the intersection of law and policy. I believe the starting point for all of our projects should be active listening. Only by taking the time to understand and identify the issues can we hope to succeed in helping others solve the problems they face.
CDC Public Health Law News: What projects are you excited about working on with the Public Health Law Program?
I am excited about moving the Program into the areas that surround the Winnable Battles. Food safety, injury prevention, and childhood obesity are important issues where law can help create better outcomes for the public's health. By collaborating with strong partners such as the Association of State and Territorial Health Officers and the National Association of County and City Health Officers, I believe we can develop tools that will help CDC and health departments move the law toward positive change.
CDC Public Health Law News: What do you project for the future of public health law, independent or in conjunction with the CDC?
I don't pretend to be a trained academic, but I see two general trends influencing the direction of public health law - the increasing awareness of evidence-based decision making and the rapidly changing human-made environment.
As I have worked on drafting legislation and regulations over the past few years, I have become aware of the increasing awareness of and reliance on evidence-based decision making. Legislators and stakeholders are more and more demanding background research and unequivocal findings before they will commit to changes in the legal landscape. Public health practitioners will more and more need to respond with findings from well designed research projects and with legal structures that are narrowly targeted at the desired outcome.
As I look at the recent trends in public health law, I think there is increasing focus on the impact the human-made environment has on the public's health. We have spent decades exploring the impact our industrialized society has on the natural environmental, and many of the landmark legislative developments in public health law have focused on mitigating the stress we place on our water and air and flora and fauna.
I sense a shift in focus from these outward effects to more inward effects. For example, we have for many years discussed and legislated on the impact that the improper disposal of electronics can have on the environment. Today, I think we are seeing more focus on what those same electronics may be having on the public's health during their useful life. We have created legislation that attempts to mitigate the impact that plastics manufacturing may have on the environment. Today, we are focusing more on the impact that the plastics themselves may have on the public's health.
In recognizing this trend, many of CDC's Winnable Battles are oriented around the environment humans have created and in which have immersed ourselves – obesity and food safety, hospital acquired infections, motor vehicle injuries, tobacco. I think the future of public health law will focus on the impact that our increasingly mechanized, mass produced, and technologically driven society has on the public's health.
CDC Public Health Law News: If you were not working in public health law, what would you likely be doing?
If I had not gone to law school, I would have gone into the library profession as a reference librarian or administrator. I love to work with my hands and have spent the past 10 years working on old houses that my wife and I have bought. If I was forced to change careers now, I would probably get a contractor's license and start a home renovation business.
CDC Public Health Law News: Describe any personal information, hobbies, or interests you care to share.
I've played the drums since I was 11 or 12 years old, and have played in several bands in both Athens, GA, and Columbia, SC.
CDC Public Health Law News: What are your favorite books and what have you read lately?
My favorite book is Moby Dickby Herman Melville. The book is both epic in its portrayal of Ahab's struggle and intimate in its portrayal of domestic life at sea. I am also very fond of Ursula, Underby Ingrid Hill. This book also simultaneously operates on the two levels of epic and intimate.
My recent reading has not been as adventurous, running from articles in National Geographic (the best magazine in the world!) to a half-read Vanished Manby Jeffery Deaver.
I have just started reading Green Gone Wrong: How Our Economy Is Undermining the Environmental Revolutionby Heather Rogers.
CDC Public Health Law News: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Circling back to the Collaboration and Customer Service issues, I invite public health lawyers and other public health professionals to contact me directly with ideas about how the Public Health Law Program could help them solve the policy and legal issues they face and how we could work together on public health law to advance the public's health.
The CDC Public Health Law News is published the third Thursday of each month except holidays, plus special issues when warranted. It is distributed only in electronic form and is free of charge. News content is selected solely on the basis of newsworthiness and potential interest to readers. CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) assume no responsibility for the factual accuracy of the items presented from other sources. The selection, omission, or content of items does not imply any endorsement or other position taken by CDC or DHHS. Opinions expressed by the original authors of items included in the News, or persons quoted therein, are strictly their own and are in no way meant to represent the opinion or views of CDC or DHHS. References to products, trade names, publications, news sources, and non-CDC Websites are provided solely for informational purposes and do not imply endorsement by CDC or DHHS. Legal cases are presented for educational purposes only, and are not meant to represent the current state of the law. The findings and conclusions reported in this document are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of CDC or DHHS. The News is in the public domain and may be freely forwarded and reproduced without permission. The original news sources and the CDC Public Health Law News should be cited as sources. Readers should contact the cited news sources for the full text of the articles.
For past issues or to subscribe to the CDC Public Health Law News, visit http://www.cdc.gov/phlp/news/archives.html. For help with subscriptions or to make comments or suggestions, send an email to Lindsay Culp at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The News is published by the Public Health Law Program, Office for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Lindsay Culp, J.D., M.P.H., Editor; Abigail Ferrell, J.D., M.P.A., Writer. Special thanks for Tara Ramanathan, J.D., M.P.H. for her help on this issue.
- Page last reviewed: August 18, 2011
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