Public Health Perspectives Podcast: Educating the Future of Legal Epidemiology
by Camelia Singletary, MPH
Public Health Perspectives is a podcast series targeted towards strengthening the future public health workforce by exploring the narratives of public health care professionals to gain insight on career paths that shape the profession.
In this episode of Public Health Perspectives, Lindsay Cloud and Lance Gable discuss legal epidemiology. Lindsay Cloud is the director of the Policy Surveillance Program at the Center for Public Health Law Research (CPHLR) at Temple University Beasley School of Law. Lance Gable is an associate professor of law at Wayne State University and an expert on public health law and bioethics. Both Lindsay and Lance are authors in a supplement on legal epidemiology that was released in February 2020.
If legal epidemiology is a new term for you, it is defined as scientific study of law as a factor in the cause, distribution and prevention of disease and injury. Both Lance and Lindsay give some insight into legal epidemiology as a whole, as well as some examples of turning policies into practice. Through the coursework taught at their respective universities, they are able to continue to educate current and future public health professionals on the policies and practices that affect the social determinants of health.
In an effort to provide training, there are several opportunities that public health professionals can explore. The Policy Surveillance Program at Temple University, which is “dedicated to increasing the use of policy surveillance and scientific legal mapping as tools for improving the nation’s health,” has developed sites such as:
- LawAtlas.org has more than 120 open-source legal datasets that use scientific legal mapping to capture the characteristics of laws and policies of public health significance.
- PDAPS.org is home to 20 scientific legal maps on drug abuse-related topics, and is widely used as a source of rigorous legal data for researchers, policymakers, and the public.
- CityHealth.org is an initiative of the de Beaumont Foundation and Kaiser Permanente that is powered by policy surveillance data collected by CPHLR staff members. It uses a rating tool powered by MonQcle to award medals to the 40 largest US cities on their policies across nine domains, such as earned sick leave and affordable housing policies.
Music presented in this program comes from The Gentle Art of Squinting by Taylor Arnold and Jordan Wilson. Listen to the complete album here. Cover art by Shawna Arno.
- Advancing Legal Epidemiology, a special supplement issue of the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice.
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Lindsay K. Cloud, JD, is the director of the Policy Surveillance Program at the Center for Public Health Law Research (CPHLR) at Temple University Beasley School of Law. Her work focuses on the intersection of law and public health. She has overseen the creation of large-scale public health law research projects using legal epidemiology to scientifically analyze and track state, local, and international policies across various public health law domains. In addition to managing the creation of CPHLR projects, Lindsay trains government agencies, policymakers, researchers, and other external organizations on the tools and transdisciplinary methods used in public health law research with an aim towards applying law as an intervention to influence better health, well-being, and equity. Read more about Lindsay here.
Lance Gable is an associate professor of law at Wayne State University Law School. Gable, an internationally known expert on public health law and bioethics, served as interim dean of Wayne Law from September 2016 to August 2017. His research addresses the overlap among law, policy, ethics, health and science. He has published journal articles on a diverse array of topics, including public health law, ethics and policy; international human rights; bioterrorism and emergency preparedness; mental health; research ethics; and information privacy. Read more about Lance here.
Camelia Singletary, MPH, received her master’s degree in public health from the University of South Carolina in 2015. Her research interests include exploring the implementation of school physical activity programs in combination with nutritional components. She is also interested in analyzing the adoption of physical activity and healthy eating skills from a social-cognitive perspective. As a public health communicator at JPHMP Direct, she hopes to create linkages between evidence-based research, public health coursework, and health certification competencies.
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