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The Institute of Public Law (IPL) at the University of New Mexico School of Law has joined up with a select group of academic institutions across the country to form a ground-breaking network that will serve as a resource for public health professionals.
The Public Health Law Network debuted on Sept. 20 and will welcome questions that warrant legal and policy solutions from anyone working in the public health field, including public health practitioners, local, state, federal and tribal officials, advocates and policy makers.
"This exciting initiative will expand the use of public health law as a tool to improve the public's health by providing guidance on how best to apply the law to a particular public health law concern," said Clifford Rees, who will be the part-time staff attorney at the network's IPL office. "In addition to myself, I will bring in additional experts to provide technical assistance to public health practitioners."
The network is divided into five regions across the country. IPL at the UNM School of Law, along with the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University (ASU), will serve an 11-state Western region, which includes Alaska and Hawaii.
Along with welcoming all manner of public health questions, the Western region will have a special focus on emergency preparation and response as it relates to public health law and tribal public health issues. All questions that come in through the Western region will be compiled and shared with other regions.
Initial funding for the Public Health Law Network is being provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) through a 30-month grant. Arizona State University, which houses the Western region headquarters, received a $1.325 million grant from RWJF. UNM's IPL received a $225,000 subcontract through ASU for its contributions to this project. ASU and UNM also plan to partner with other funders.
"After 30 months, we expect to have a robust body of legal resources available to people nationwide to address public health concerns," said Paul Biderman, IPL director. "This innovative initiative is one more way IPL supports the broader community as a public service arm of the School of Law."
Go to the network's website to find out how to pose questions to the IPL office.
The Institute of Public Law at the University of New Mexico School of Law engages in research, analysis, teaching, training, writing and publishing to support the development of informed public policy and law. Founded in 1969, the institute provides assistance to federal, state and local governments and undertakes special projects through foundation grants. It forms an important link between New Mexico's only law school, government bodies and the community at large.