Making the Case for Laws that Improve Health: A Framework for Public Health Law Research

62 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2010 Last revised: 3 Nov 2013

See all articles by Scott Burris

Scott Burris

Center for Public Health Law Research, Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law

Alexander C Wagenaar

University of Florida, College of Medicine

Jeffrey W. Swanson

Duke University - Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences

Jennifer Ibrahim

Temple University; Public Health Law Research National Program Office

Jennifer Wood

Temple University

Michelle M. Mello

Stanford Law School; Stanford University - School of Medicine

Date Written: June 16, 2010

Abstract

Public health law has received considerable attention in recent years and is assuming the role of an essential field within public health. Public health law research has received less attention. This paper explores the boundaries and promise of public health law research, defined as the scientific study of the relation of law and legal practices to population health. The paper offers a logic model of public health law research and a typology of approaches for studying the effects of law on public health. Research on the content and prevalence of public health laws; processes of adopting and implementing laws; and the extent to which and mechanisms through which law affects health outcomes can be pursued using methods drawn from epidemiology, economics, sociology, and other disciplines. The maturation of public health law research as a field depends on overcoming several challenges, including the need to assure methodological rigor, adequate research funding, access to appropriate data sources, and uptake of research findings by policy makers. Public health law research is a young field, but holds great promise for supporting evidence-based policy making that will improve population health.

Keywords: public health, empirical legal research, public health law

Suggested Citation

Burris, Scott C. and Wagenaar, Alexander C and Swanson, Jeffrey W. and Ibrahim, Jennifer K. and Wood, Jennifer and Mello, Michelle M., Making the Case for Laws that Improve Health: A Framework for Public Health Law Research (June 16, 2010). Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010-14. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1625802 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1625802

Scott C. Burris (Contact Author)

Center for Public Health Law Research, Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law ( email )

1719 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States
215-204-6576 (Phone)
215-204-1185 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.phlr.org

Alexander C Wagenaar

University of Florida, College of Medicine ( email )

PO Box 117165, 201 Stuzin Hall
Gainesville, FL 32610-0496
United States

Jeffrey W. Swanson

Duke University - Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences ( email )

100 Fuqua Drive
Durham, NC 27715
United States

Jennifer K. Ibrahim

Temple University ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States

Public Health Law Research National Program Office ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.publichealthlawresearch.org

Jennifer Wood

Temple University ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States

Michelle M. Mello

Stanford Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States
650-725-3894 (Phone)

Stanford University - School of Medicine ( email )

291 Campus Drive
Li Ka Shing Building
Stanford, CA 94305-5101
United States

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