Public health law in a new century

Part I: Law as a tool to advance the community's health

Lawrence O. Gostin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Statutes, regulations, and litigation are pivotal tools for creating conditions for people to lead healthier and safer lives. Law can educate, create incentives, and deter; mandate safer product design and use of property; and alter the informational, physical, or economic environment. This article defines public health law as the power and duty of the state to ensure conditions for people to be healthy and limitations on the state's power to constrain autonomy, privacy, liberty, and proprietary interests of individuals and businesses. The 5 essential characteristics of public health law discussed are (1) the government's responsibility to defend against health risks and promote the public's health; (2) the population-based perspective of public health, emphasizing prevention; (3) the relationship between government and the populace; (4) the mission, core functions, and services of the public health system; and (5) the power to coerce individuals, professionals, and businesses for the community's protection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2837-2841
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Medical Association
Volume283
Issue number21
StatePublished - Jun 7 2000

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Public Health
Health
United States Public Health Service
Privacy
Jurisprudence
Motivation
Economics
Population
Power (Psychology)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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Public health law in a new century : Part I: Law as a tool to advance the community's health. / Gostin, Lawrence O.

In: Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 283, No. 21, 07.06.2000, p. 2837-2841.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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