Public health practitioners are at a critical point in recognizing the extent of health inequities in our society. Indeed, this recognition has led not only to declarations of racism as a “serious threat to the public’s health,” but also to the examination of public health’s role in transforming the systems and structures that can undermine the health and well-being of all people. These systems and structures shape the economic, social, environmental, and other conditions in which most people live, and they arise directly or indirectly from laws and policies. Law can be a powerful influence on health, and it is arguably a determinant of health and health equity.

In this Web Forum, the CDC’s Public Health Law Program (PHLP) and the National Leadership Academy for the Public’s Health (NLAPH) considers this relationship among health equity, public health, and law. It invites attendees to explore how examining laws and policies can inform many aspects of public health practice, including, most crucially, those efforts to address structural and systemic inequities.

Presenters

Matthew Penn, JD, MLIS

Director, Public Health Law Program

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Matthew Penn is the Director of CDC Center for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support’s Public Health Law Program (PHLP).  In his role as PHLP Director, he leads a team of legal analysts responsible for the agency’s efforts in legal epidemiology and workforce development to support the understanding and use…

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Samantha Bent Weber, JD

Lead for Research Innovation and Workforce Capacity Building and Lead for Health Equity, Public Health Law Program

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Sam Bent Weber is a Program Analyst through Cherokee Nation Assurance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health Law Program, which is housed at the Center for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support. She specializes in work to improve public health through the development of legal tools…

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Moderator

Carmen Rita Nevarez, MD, MPH

Sr. Vice President Emeritus, External Relations and Preventive Medicine

Public Health Institute

Oakland, CA

  • Director, Center for Health Leadership and Practice, Public Health Institute, Oakland, CA

Carmen Nevarez, MD, MPH, is PHI's Senior Vice President for External Relations and Preventive Medicine Advisor and the Director of the Center for Health Leadership and Practice. A long-standing voice for the public's health, Nevarez is responsible for developing relationships with health and public health organizations and interests, advocating for…

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