The Legal Determinants of Health: Harnessing the Power of Law for Global Health and Sustainable Development

The Lancet Commissions, Vol. 393, Issue 10183, 1857-1910, 2019 DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(19)30233-8

Posted: 14 Sep 2020

See all articles by Lawrence O. Gostin

Lawrence O. Gostin

Georgetown University - Law Center - O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law

John Monahan

Georgetown University Law Center

Jenny Kaldor

The University of Sydney Law School

Mary DeBartolo

Georgetown University Law Center

Eric Friedman

Georgetown University Law Center - O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law

Katie Gottschalk

O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law

A. Alwan

World Health Organization - Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean

Agnes Binagwaho

Ministry of Health of Rwanda - Harvard Medical School - Darmouth College, Geisel School of Medicine

Gian Luca Burci

University of Geneva - Graduate Institute, Geneva (IHEID)

Howard K. Koh

Harvard University - T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Gorik Ooms

Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM)

Mirta ‎ Periago

Sabin Vaccine Institute - Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases

Rodrigo Uprimny

National University of Colombia - Justicia y Sociedad (Dejusticia)

Alicia Ely Yamin

Harvard University - Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics; Harvard University - Harvard Law School; Partners in Health; Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI) - Center on Law and Social Transformation

Date Written: May 4, 2019

Abstract

Health risks in the 21st century are beyond the control of any country. In an era of globalization, promoting public health and equity requires cooperation and coordination both within and among states. Law can be a powerful tool for advancing global health, yet it remains significantly underutilized and poorly understood. Working in partnership, public health lawyers and health professionals can become champions for evidence-based laws to ensure the public’s health and safety.

The O'Neill Institute/Georgetown University Lancet Commission on Law and Global Health articulates the vital role of law – through legal instruments, legal capacities, and institutional reforms, as well as the rule of law – to achieve global health with justice. Our report is structured around four “legal determinants of health,” each of which powerfully affects health outcomes. We coin the term legal determinants of health because it demonstrates law’s power to address the underlying social and economic causes of injury and disease. The four legal determinants, together with key recommendations, are:

1) Law can translate vision into action on sustainable development.
2) Law can strengthen the governance of national and global health institutions.
3) Law can implement fair, evidence-based health interventions.
4) Building legal capacities for health. Strong legal capacities are a key determinant of progress towards global health and sustainable development.

By providing insight on the legal determinants of health, our aim is to empower the global health community to strengthen its legal capacity, and to use law more strategically in the pursuit of health and equity.

Keywords: global health, health professionals, sustainable development, health law, health institutions

Suggested Citation

Gostin, Lawrence O. and Monahan, John and Kaldor, Jenny and DeBartolo, Mary and Friedman, Eric and Gottschalk, Katie and Alwan, A. and Binagwaho, Agnes and Burci, Gian Luca and Koh, Howard K. and Ooms, Gorik and Periago, Mirta ‎ and Uprimny, Rodrigo and Yamin, Alicia Ely, The Legal Determinants of Health: Harnessing the Power of Law for Global Health and Sustainable Development (May 4, 2019). The Lancet Commissions, Vol. 393, Issue 10183, 1857-1910, 2019 DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(19)30233-8, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3400887

Lawrence O. Gostin (Contact Author)

Georgetown University - Law Center - O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States
202-662-9038 (Phone)
202-662-9055 (Fax)

John Monahan

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States

Jenny Kaldor

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

Mary DeBartolo

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States

Eric Friedman

Georgetown University Law Center - O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States

Katie Gottschalk

O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law ( email )

A. Alwan

World Health Organization - Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean ( email )

Abdul Razzak Al Sanhouri Street
P.O. Box 7608
Nasr City, Cairo 11371
Egypt

Agnes Binagwaho

Ministry of Health of Rwanda - Harvard Medical School - Darmouth College, Geisel School of Medicine

Kigali
Rwanda

Gian Luca Burci

University of Geneva - Graduate Institute, Geneva (IHEID) ( email )

Geneva
Switzerland

Howard K. Koh

Harvard University - T.H. Chan School of Public Health ( email )

677 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA MA 02115
United States

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Gorik Ooms

Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) ( email )

Antwerp
Belgium

Mirta ‎ Periago

Sabin Vaccine Institute - Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases ( email )

2000 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Suite 7100
Washington, DC 20006
United States

Rodrigo Uprimny

National University of Colombia - Justicia y Sociedad (Dejusticia) ( email )

Colombia

Alicia Ely Yamin

Harvard University - Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics ( email )

23 Everett Street
Cambridge, MA 02155
United States

Harvard University - Harvard Law School ( email )

1563 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Partners in Health ( email )

641 Huntington Ave, 1st Floor
Boston, MA 02115
United States

Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI) - Center on Law and Social Transformation ( email )

PO Box 6033 Postterminalen
Bergen, NO-5892
Norway

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
205
PlumX Metrics