[Source: US National Library of Medicine, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]
J Law Med Ethics. 2019 Jun;47(2_suppl):95-99. doi: 10.1177/1073110519857328.
Emergency Declarations for Public Health Issues: Expanding Our Definition of Emergency.
Sunshine G1, Barrera N1, Corcoran AJ1, Penn M1.
Author information: 1 Gregory Sunshine, J.D., serves as a public health analyst with the Public Health Law Program in the Center for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Gregory oversees research on topics such as disaster and public health emergency declarations, state Ebola monitoring and movement policies, isolation and quarantine, and medical countermeasures, and he has published on topics such as gubernatorial emergency authorities, Ebola and the law, and tribal emergency declarations. Gregory earned his J.D. with a certificate in health law from the University of Maryland School of Law in Baltimore, Maryland, and his bachelor of arts in political science from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Nancy Barrera, J.D., M.P.H., is a senior attorney with the California Department of Public Health, Office of Legal Services. Nancy has extensive experience in public health and has advised various public health programs, including tobacco control, chronic diseases, vital records, injury control, family health programs, health care quality, health equity, and civil rights. Currently, she advises the communicable diseases and emergency preparedness programs on important public health legal issues. Nancy earned her J.D. from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, California, and her M.P.H. from San Jose State University, California. Aubrey Joy Corcoran, J.D., M.P.H., is the health unit chief in the Education and Health Section of Arizona’s Office of the Attorney General, where she practices public health law. Aubrey Joy’s practice includes litigation at the administrative, trial, and appellate levels in Arizona and federal courts. She earned her J.D. with a certificate in health law from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona and her M.P.H. from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Matthew Penn, J.D., M.L.I.S., is the director of the Public Health Law Program within CDC’s Center for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support. In this role he provides critical legal expertise and leadership to advance public health practice through law. Matthew developed expertise in legal preparedness issues as lead counsel for South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Office of Public Health Preparedness, the South Carolina Advisory Committee for the Emergency System for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals, and the South Carolina Pandemic Influenza Ethics Task Force. Mr. Penn earned his J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law and his M.L.I.S. from the University of South Carolina in Columbia.
Emergency declarations are a vital legal authority that can activate funds, personnel, and material and change the legal landscape to aid in the response to a public health threat. Traditionally, declarations have been used against immediate and unforeseen threats such as hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, and pandemic influenza. Recently, however, states have used emergency declarations to address public health issues that have existed in communities for months and years and have risk factors such as poverty and substance misuse. Leaders in these states have chosen to use emergency powers that are normally reserved for sudden catastrophes to address these enduring public health issues. This article will explore emergency declarations as a legal mechanism for response; describe recent declarations to address hepatitis A and the opioid overdose epidemic; and seek to answer the question of whether it is appropriate to use emergency powers to address public health issues that are not traditionally the basis for an emergency declaration.
PMID: 31298138 DOI: 10.1177/1073110519857328
Keywords: USA; Public Health.