A Transdisciplinary Approach to Public Health Law: The Emerging Practice of Legal Epidemiology
Annual Review of Public Health, Online Volume 37, March 17, 2016, Forthcoming
29 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2015 Last revised: 8 Jan 2016
Date Written: November 30, 2015
A transdisciplinary model of public health law, linking both its legal and scientific elements, can help break down enduring cultural, disciplinary, and resource barriers that have prevented the full recognition and optimal role of law in public health. Public health law has roots in both law and science. For more than a century, lawyers have helped develop and implement health laws; over the last 50 years, scientific evaluation of the health effects of laws and legal practices has achieved high levels of rigor and influence. We describe an emerging model of public health law uniting these two traditions. This transdisciplinary model adds scientific practices to the lawyerly functions of normative and doctrinal research, counseling, and representation. These practices include policy surveillance and empirical public health law research on the efficacy of legal interventions and the impact of laws and legal practices on health and health system operation.
Keywords: policy surveillance, legal epidemiology, public health practice, public health law, public health law research
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