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Law in Public Health Practice$
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Richard A. Goodman, Richard E. Hoffman, Wilfredo Lopez, Gene W. Matthews, Mark Rothstein, and Karen Foster

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195301489

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195301489.001.0001

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The Law and the Public's Health: The Foundations

The Law and the Public's Health: The Foundations

Chapter:
(p.25) Chapter 1 The Law and the Public's Health: The Foundations
Source:
Law in Public Health Practice
Author(s):

Lawrence O. Gostin

F. Ed Thompson

Frank P. Grad

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195301489.003.0001

This chapter presents the foundations of the integral relations between law and public health practice, including definition, infrastructure, constitutional underpinnings, and powers. It examines the fundamental aspects of the field of public health. It argues that law is a means to achieving better health in a society, while simultaneously limiting the extent to which individual rights are sacrificed for the common good. By crafting a consistent and uniform approach, carefully delineating the mission and functions of public health agencies, designating a range of flexible powers, specifying the criteria and procedures for using those powers, and protecting against discrimination and invasion of privacy, the law can become a catalyst, rather than an impediment, to reinvigorating the public health system.

Keywords:   public health practice, law, population health, infrastructure, constitutional underpinnings, public health system

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