Law is integral to public health. Legal interventions are commonly used in areas like tobacco control and road safety. Law defines the powers and duties of government health agencies. Perhaps most importantly, laws of all kinds influence and mediate the social determinants of health. Most if not all public health professionals deal with law in their work, whether they are developing, advocating for, implementing, or evaluating policies for health.
This year’s Maastricht University OMInar in Public Health Law introduced participants from both health and legal backgrounds to the transdisciplinary model of public health law, which emphasizes collaboration across public health disciplines to promote healthy public policies. Participants used the five essential public health law services framework and a problem-based method to improve their competency to devise, advocate for, implement, and evaluate laws for health. Discussion topics included the COVID-19 resurgence, the regulation of marihuana use, and the use of electronic scooters. The different backgrounds of the 30 attendees, both OMI fellows and Maastricht University students, brought a variety of perspectives and experiences resulting in fruitful discussions.
Kasia Czabanowska, course co-director from Maastricht University, and Scott Burris, course co-director from Temple University, led a very dynamic and intriguing course. The expert faculty comprised of Suzanne Babich (USA), Timo Clemens (The Netherlands), Marcin Kautsch (Poland), Rana Orhan (The Netherlands), Salman Rawaf (United Kingdom), Jim Thomas (USA), and David Townend (The Netherlands).
We owe a special thanks to all the faculty for their commitment and understanding to convert a weeklong schedule of lectures into a three-day OMInar, which still enabled fellows to virtually gather among public health law experts to learn about important and applicable topics.