Objective: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducts research on legal epidemiology, the scientific study of law as a factor in the cause, distribution, and prevention of disease. This study describes a scan of articles written by CDC staff members to characterize the frequency and key features of legal epidemiology articles and their distribution across CDC departments and divisions. Methods: CDC librarians searched an internal repository for journal articles by CDC staff published from January 1, 2011, to May 31, 2015. Researchers reviewed and coded the abstracts to produce data on key features of the articles. Results: Researchers identified 158 CDC-authored legal epidemiology articles published in 83 journals, most frequently in Preventing Chronic Disease (14 publications), Journal of Public Health Management Practice (10 publications), and Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (9 publications). Most articles concerned the use and impact of law as a deliberate tool of intervention. Thirteen articles addressed the legal infrastructure of public health, and 3 assessed the incidental or unintended effects of nonhealth laws. CDC-authored articles encompassed policy making, implementation, and impact. Literature reviews and studies mapping laws across multiple jurisdictions constituted one-quarter of all publications. Studies addressed laws at the international, national, state, local, and organizational levels. Conclusion: Results of the scan can be used to identify opportunities for the agency to better support research, professional development, networking, publication, and tracking of publication in this emerging field.
- Legal epidemiology
- Policy evaluation
- Public health law research
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health