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Organization and Legal Basis of Public Health. Objectives. Describe legal responsibilities and limitations of the public health professional. Describe the general organization of public health at the federal, state, and local levels.

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Presentation Transcript
  • Describe legal responsibilities and limitations of the public health professional.
  • Describe the general organization of public health at the federal, state, and local levels.
  • Describe how your jurisdiction or job fits into the big picture.
public health v personal freedoms2
Public Health v. Personal Freedoms


Mandatory Reporting

Inspection & Licensure

public health v personal freedoms3
Public Health v.Personal Freedoms

Public Nuisances

November 9, 1915

legal basis
U.S. Constitution

Bill of Rights

State Constitution

Federal and State



Case law

Legal Basis




due process
Due Process

Fairness in the procedural application of the law:

Fair notice

Opportunity tobe heard

Clear procedures

equal protection
Equal Protection

Laws must be applied evenhandedly

People in similar situations must be treated similarly

Show no favoritism


Governmental intrusion must be warranted

Individual Privacy vs. Protection of Population

government must act
Government Must Act…


According to clear procedures

federal agencies
Federal Agencies
  • Health Resources and Services
  • Food and Drug Administration
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • National Institutes of Health
  • Office of Public Health Preparedness (OPHP)
state agencies
State Agencies

Main legal authority for public health

  • Structure varies by state
  • Centralized vs. local control
  • NY & NJ “Home Rule” states
legal authorities
The governmental level with highest authority has the ultimate power.Legal Authorities

Federal RuleFederal Regulation

State RuleState Regulation

Local RuleLocal Regulation

duties of local health agencies
Duties of Local Health Agencies
  • Communicable disease control
  • Chronic disease prevention and control
  • Environmental health
  • Maternal and child health
  • Vital records
  • Emergency planning and response
  • Community health care planning
  • Community health education
functions of law
Functions of Law
  • Regulates conduct
  • Protects individual and property rights
  • Defines the duties and responsibilities of government and individuals
legal versus practical
Legal versus Practical
  • Search for the zone of agreement
  • Be open, honest, and empathetic
  • Negotiate & Communicate
functions of public health
Functions of Public Health
  • Don’t abuse your
    • Power
    • Authority
  • Ask yourself
    • Is is legal for me to do this?
    • Is it ethical for me to do this?
  • Understand how you fit in
points to remember
Points to Remember
  • Know what you enforce
  • Seek assistance
  • Act in good faith
  • Respect the public’s trust

Can you get sued?

    • The commission of an unlawful act
    • Improper performance of an act which a person might lawfully do
    • Nonperformance of an act which should be performed; omission to perform a required duty or total neglect of duty