Health Law
Section Newsletter
Winter 2010

Message from the Chair

I would like to invite you, as a member of the Health Law Special Primary Interest Group, to help our organization take the next steps in its growth and become a Section of APHA.

From the Congressional debate over health care reform; to the curricula of schools of law, public health and medicine; to addressing the effects on society of novel pathogens, obesity, diabetes, and disparities — understanding how law shapes, promotes and protects the public’s health and human rights has never been higher or of greater importance. Our members are prominent participants in all of these efforts.

APHA has long recognized the decisive role of law in assuring the health and human rights of the public. Forty years ago, APHA published the first edition of Frank P. Grad’s seminal text, "The Public Health Law Manual."  This past year, APHA welcomed two members of the Health Law Special Primary Interest Group as elected members of its Governing Council, and expanded by 40 percent the number of Health Law SPIG-sponsored panels held at its Annual Meeting.  This year, the theme of the 138th APHA Annual Meeting is Social Justice.

As part of the world’s oldest and most diverse public health organization, with an Annual Meeting that brings together more than 13,000 public health practitioners, policy-makers and providers from across the nation and around the world, our group is ideally situated as the meeting place where cutting edge research and insights can be shared and translated into practice.  With ever-tightening budgets and more limited opportunities for travel to professional meetings, the chance to reach such a diverse gathering of current and potential colleagues and collaborators at one place becomes even more valuable.

By growing into a Section, in addition to helping our maturing field make its presence more prominent within the broader public health community, we also would increase the outlets for our members to share their work and interact professionally and socially at the Annual Meeting; offer more leadership opportunities and channels for professional growth of our members; enhance support available to students interested in public health law; and strengthen our voice within the governance and policy making structure of APHA.

The specific details of becoming a Section of APHA will be outlined on our group Web site, but some of the steps we must take include the following:

·         Increase the number of APHA members who affiliate with the Health Law SPIG to 250. Currently, we have approximately 200 active members in the SPIG; however, there are a significant number of APHA members with backgrounds and interests in law, policy, health administration and human rights who may currently not be taking advantage of the opportunities now available through APHA to hold affiliations with multiple Sections and SPIGs.  One of our first efforts will be to initiate a recruitment drive reaching out to these members. I also encourage you to ask your colleagues to join our group as well.

·         Expand the number of members involved in organizational governance. With growth into a Section, the group will be creating several new board positions and looking to members interested in leadership positions within the group.

·         Developing more opportunities for student participation in the organization. The last 15 years have seen exponential growth in the number of students participating in dual degree programs and courses focusing on public health and human rights law. As the leading public health law organization, we need to open new doors for our future colleagues, increasing the opportunities they have to participate in our programs, build their professional contacts, identify potential employment opportunities, and to have a voice in our organizational governance.

In addition to moving our SPIG toward Sectionhood, I am pleased to announce several other exciting new initiatives being undertaken by dedicated members of the SPIG, including our new Newsletter Editor and Communications Chair, Jason A. Smith of the University of Connecticut Health Center.  These efforts are aimed toward the following goals:

·         Enhancing the effectiveness of public health law and policy;

·         Building a more vibrant, connected and collaborative public health law community;

·         Increasing chances for participation in the governance of the group and APHA; and

·         Expanding the professional opportunities available for public health law practitioners, researchers and students.

They include introducing new social media outlets for the SPIG, such as LinkedIn and Facebook interest groups, as well as a new Public Health Law blog – – authored by SPIG members. Please look below for more details about these efforts as well as links to the new sites.

Thank you to all of the members whose steadfast dedication has lifted up and supported the Health Law SPIG to make it what it is today.  I am grateful for your stewardship and your ongoing efforts.  To take these next steps, we need more of you to share your enthusiasm, support and active participation and help us continue to build what is already a premier organization and make it even greater.  Please spread the word about the SPIG, share with us your ideas for how the SPIG can help you get the most out of your membership, join us on Facebook and LinkedIn, participate in our online discussions, and let us know ways you might be willing to get more involved.

I look forward to an exciting year ahead.

Be well,

Ross D. Silverman, JD, MPH
Chair, Health Law SPIG

Health Law SPIG on the Web

The Health Law SPIG is now available in several locations on the Internet.

First, we are pleased to point you to This site will contain updates and information about the SPIG as well as submitted articles and commentaries by researchers, practitioners and academics in the field and will be updated frequently.

You can also find the SPIG on Facebook and on LinkedIn. If you are members of these services, look for us!

You can also contact the SPIG through at:


The public health researchers connected with the Colorado School of Public Health are one of 15 groups in the United States to receive a $150,000 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Public Health Law Research grant to analyze the impact and use of law in regional and multi-county approaches to local public health service delivery. As Colorado’s public health professionals address the health needs of the state, improving the time it takes to translate research into practice will improve the access of vital services to Colorado communities. Read more   

The joint JD/MPH degree program at the University of Connecticut Health Center is pleased to announce that Susan Schmeiser, professor of law at UCONN Law School, has been given an appointment to the Graduate Program in Public Health at UCHC. Zita Lazzarini, associate professor of medicine, and Jason Smith, assistant professor of medicine, have been given reciprocal appointments at UCONN Law School. These appointments will strengthen the UCHC JD/MPH program and will allow both the health center and law school the opportunity to expand course offerings in public health law.

The National Policy & Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity (NPLAN) has developed some new products for childhood obesity prevention advocates. The first is a model obesity prevention resolution designed to help communities implement policies to address obesity. In addition, we have created a series of model land use policies to help communities promote farmers' markets. These policies include our "Model Zoning Ordinance Establishing Farmers' Markets as Permitted Use," which helps to remove policy barriers and increase access for low-income customers. NPLAN is a project of Public Health Law and Policy in Oakland, Calif. For more information, go to

Marlo Miura, MA, JD, has been named assistant director of the Center for Public Health and Tobacco Policy. The center is located at New England Law | Boston, where its director, Micah Berman, is an assistant professor. The New York State Department of Health’s Tobacco Control Program funds the center to research and develop policy initiatives and provide technical support. Prior to joining the center, Marlo Miura was an attorney with the Public Health Advocacy Institute at Northeastern University School of Law.



The Nominating Committee for APHA's Governing Council is looking for the following candidates for leadership roles in the organization:


  • APHA President Elect (three year commitment, one year each as president-elect, president and past-president)
  • Executive board – three positions available (4-year term)
  • Speaker of the Governing Council (3-year term)
  • Treasurer (3-year term)

The APHA Governing Council will vote to select these officers at the November (2010) meeting, and they would begin serving immediately after the APHA conference (so terms would start Nov. 10, 2010).


As I'm sure you know, the next APHA Annual Meeting is Nov. 6-10, 2010, in Denver.


Applications are due March 31, 2010 and should include the relevant (attached) one-page form along with resume/CV of the nominee, and any letters of support. The nominating committee will meet May 6 to select the list of nominees for consideration by the Governing Council at the 2010 Annual Meeting.


We hope you will be able to think of individuals who would be excellent candidates for the above positions. 


Should you or a potential candidate wish further information on these positions, please refer to the job descriptions and nomination form available on the APHA Web site at:


If you are interested in running, we suggest you contact your APHA Section, SPIG, Caucus and/or Forum leadership to solicit their support and assistance with your nomination. 


All nominees for the Executive Board are selected from among the membership of the Association, except that the nominees for  Honorary Vice-President may include persons who are not members of the Association.


For more information on the Nominating Committee, contact Ida Plummer via e-mail at


The American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH) and the March of Dimes are pleased to announce the annual Young Scholar Award in Perinatal Bioethics. To be eligible for this award, applicants must be early in their career development, including those who are actively enrolled in graduate school, post-doctoral programs or no higher in their career achievement than the assistant professorship level. Applicants should submit proposals in the 'Perinatal Ethics' topic category in the ASBH Call for Proposals.  Proposals that would fall into the perinatal ethics topic category include but are not limited to topics such as pre-conception health, reproductive decision making, pregnancy, pre-natal genetic testing, labor and delivery, newborn screening, neonatal decision making and other topics related to the perinatal time frame. Submit an abstract to the ASBH Call for Proposals on the ASBH Web site no later than March 3, 2010 at /meetings/annual/callguidelines.html.  To be considered for this award, submit your proposal under the 'Perinatal Ethics' topic category where indicated.