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99 Colum. L. Rev. 59 (1999)
The Law and the Public's Health: A Study of Infectious Disease Law in the United States

handle is hein.journals/clr99 and id is 93 raw text is: THE LAW AND THE PUBLIC'S HEALTH:
Lawrence 0. Gostin,* Scott Burris,** and Zita Lazzarini***
Law plays crucial roles in the field of public health, from defining the
power and jurisdiction of health agencies, to influencing the social norms
that shape individual behavior. Despite its importance, public health law
has been neglected. Over a decade ago, the Institute of Medicine issued a
report lamenting the state of public health adminstration, generally, and
calling, in particular, for a revision of public health statutes. The Article
examines the current state of public health law.
To help create the conditions in which people can be healthy, public
health law must reflect an understanding of how public health agencies work
to promote health, as well as the political and social contexts in which these
* Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center; Professor of Law and Public
Health, the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health; Co-Director,
Georgetown/Johns Hopkins Program on Law and Public Health; Member, Advisory
Committee on HIV and Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention, Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC); Member, Board on Disease Prevention and Health
Promotion, Institute of Medicine (IOM), National Academy of Sciences; B.A., State
University of New York at Brockport; J.D., Duke University; LL.D. (Hon.), State University
of New York. This Article does not necessarily reflect the views of the CDC or the IOM.
** Professor, Temple University School of Law; B.A., Washington University; J.D.,
Yale Law School.
*** Assistant Professor & Director of the Program in Medical Humanities, Health
Law and Ethics, University of Connecticut Health Center; Lecturer on Law, Harvard
School of Public Health; B.A., University of California at Berkeley; J.D., University of
California, Hastings College of the Law; M.P.H., Harvard School of Public Health.
This Article grew out of the Communicable Disease Law Project sponsored by the
Milbank Memorial Fund. The Project involved multiple steps and the substantial talent
and energy of many individuals. The Project entailed conducting a state survey of
communicable disease law, commissioning background papers, and convening an advisory
panel of public health experts to review and discuss the survey results and background
materials. The advisory panel, assembled to reflect the richness and diversity of the public
health community, included physicians, public health officials, legislators, historians,
lawyers, administrators, advocates, and scholars (and many panelists who occupy more
than one role). The following experts contributed significantly to the Communicable
Disease Law Project: Mark Barnes, James W. Curran, Ruth Faden, Sev S. Fluss, Kristine M.
Gebbie, Frank P. Grad, Thomas A. LaVeist, Jonathan M. Mann, Eugene W. Matthews, Verla
S. Neslund, Terry O'Brien, Wendy Parmet, William L. Roper, Leonard S. Rubenstein, Ciro
V. Sumaya, and Bailus Walker. The Project's final tasks consisted of formulating
recommendations for state law reform and compiling a report. See Lawrence 0. Gostin,
Scott Burris, & Zita Lazzarini, Improving State Law To Prevent and Treat Infectious
Disease 6 (1998). The Project also benefited from our colleagues' comments during
faculty colloquia at Georgetown and Temple law schools. The authors are grateful for the
research assistance provided by James Hodge, Jr. (who directed the research team), Lance
Gable, Barbara Looney, Kathleen Maguire, Mary Senoo, and Paul Varki. We are
particularly indebted to Daniel Fox, President of the Milbank Memorial Fund, for his
extraordinary contributions to this Project.

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