Explore Public Health Law & Preparedness at the 2017 Preparedness Summit

Public health law, whether at the federal, state, or local level, plays a critical role in shaping how local health departments (LHDs) and their partners approach and implement preparedness strategy and response activities. From defining the roles of stakeholders leading or supporting emergency planning, response, and recovery efforts to ensuring legal protections for personally identifiable information, effectively navigating preparedness law can greatly increase LHD capacity and strengthen community resilience.

Recognizing this important link, NACCHO strives to offer annual training at the Preparedness Summit connecting LHD staff and other preparedness partners with public health law tools and resources. This year’s Preparedness Summit (April 25-28, 2017; Atlanta, GA) features two engaging sessions on the intersection between public health law and emergency preparedness related to vector control and school safety. Specific details, dates, and times for each session are described below. Register online for the 2017 Preparedness Summit by this Friday, April 14 to secure your spot for these trainings and so much more!

Tuesday, April 26, 2017; 1:30-3:00 pm
Law vs. Mosquito: How Legal Authorities and Emergency Powers Can Combat Humanity’s Worst Enemy
Many of the tools available to combat the mosquito find their origins in legal authorities for vector control. This session will illustrate how health departments can integrate these legal tools into their preparedness efforts to combat mosquito-borne diseases such as the Zika virus. Attendees will receive an overview of a 50-state assessment on vector control laws and examine how emergency powers can be implemented as part of a response to acute mosquito-borne disease outbreaks. Presenters will also share real-life examples to shed light on how each legal tool they discuss has been applied in public health settings.

Wednesday, April 27, 2017; 10:30 am-12:00 pm
Public Health, Schools, and Leveraging the Law: Practical and Legal Considerations for Health Departments to Engage with Schools for Emergency Preparedness
Preparedness efforts frequently overlook one resource—educational facilities, which are often the largest gathering places in communities. On any given day, more than 60 million students, faculty, and staff occupy public, charter, and private K-12 schools across the United States, plus an estimated 21 million students enrolled in universities and colleges. While, state and local emergency planning laws include guidelines designed specifically for school settings, preparedness standards in U.S. educational facilities remain inconsistent due to limited awareness among academic administrators and other key stakeholders. As a result, many schools unknowingly create serious liability concerns for their students, faculty, and staff, and put their entire community at greater risk during an emergency.

This session will inform public health agency staff and their preparedness partners on how to address this significant gap. Attendees will receive an in-depth overview of how to prepare and implement school emergency plans involving radiation and infectious diseases. Presenters will also discuss a real-life example involving a school-based countermeasure distribution that resulted in accusations of liability, providing valuable lessons learned and other key take-aways. Additionally, findings from a nationwide school district survey will be reviewed, examining responses about the 2012 crisis preparedness planning module of the School Health Policies and Practices Study (SHPPS).

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In addition to these sessions, this year’s Preparedness Summit will provide many more opportunities to learn about how the law impacts the practice of public health preparedness across the country. To see the entire listing of sessions, click to view the full conference schedule and begin adding sessions of interest to your personalized Preparedness Summit calendar.

About Geoffrey Mwaungulu, Jr.

Geoff Mwaungulu, JD, MPH, is a Senior Program Analyst for Public Health Preparedness, Law, and Ethics at NACCHO. His work includes identifying and addressing issues related to the implementation of federal preparedness and response policies at the local level, fostering collaboration between local public health and community partners to address community resilience, and leading initiatives related to public health law.

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