The Oxford Handbook of U.S. Health Law   |  May 9, 2016

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This chapter explores U.S. public health law and illustrates how it works in the control and prevention of two salient epidemics: infectious diseases and noncommunicable diseases. It first presents a theory and a definition of public health law, with particular emphasis on the law’s five essential characteristics: government, populations, relationships, services, and power. It then considers the doctrinal boundaries of public health law, and why population health should be a salient public value. It also describes seven models for legal intervention designed to prevent injury and disease, encourage healthful behaviors, and promote public health more generally. Finally, it looks at the use of public health law in infectious disease surveillance and response, as well as the law’s diverse roles in noncommunicable disease prevention and control before concluding with a discussion of the major reasons for social and political opposition to noncommunicable disease interventions.

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