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Defending Public Health Regulations: The Message is the Medium

Hastings Center Report, Vol. 44, No. 1, pp. 4-6, 2014

Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper No. 172-2014

Posted: 24 Jan 2014 Last revised: 28 Jan 2014

Peter D. Jacobson

University of Michigan School of Public Health

Wendy E. Parmet

Northeastern University - School of Law

Date Written: January 1, 2014

Abstract

In this comment on Lawrence Gostin’s article, "Bloomberg’s Health Legacy: Urban Innovator or Meddling Nanny?," Hastings Center Report (September/Oct. 2013), at 19, we argue that while conceptually sound, Gostin’s response to the paternalism charge that has been leveled at Mayor Bloomberg’s public health agenda is insufficient. Clearly, public health is losing the battle for public support. To change that, public health advocates need to reassess their ready reliance on broad, public health powers, the use of which may tempt them to adopt policies without first garnering the necessary public support. Instead of asserting their authority, public health officials should focus on engaging the public in the “deliberative democratic process” of determining ways to address public health problems. This may require not only a new messaging strategy, but an enhanced willingness to listen and respond to the legitimate concerns of affected communities; renewed attention to the effective implementation of public health interventions; and adopting a tone that is respectful of the populations to be served.

Suggested Citation

Jacobson, Peter D. and Parmet, Wendy E., Defending Public Health Regulations: The Message is the Medium (January 1, 2014). Hastings Center Report, Vol. 44, No. 1, pp. 4-6, 2014; Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper No. 172-2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2383934

Peter D. Jacobson (Contact Author)

University of Michigan School of Public Health ( email )

109 Observatory
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2029
United States
734-936-0928 (Phone)
734-764-4338 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.sph.umich.edu/~pdj/

Wendy E. Parmet

Northeastern University - School of Law ( email )

416 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States
(617) 373-2019 (Phone)
(617) 373-5056 (Fax)

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