Health equity is “when everyone has the opportunity to be as healthy as possible.” It is directly tied to factors outside of what we might consider the “traditional” domain of health, such as access to health care or public health programming. It is also determined by the fair distribution of resources as well as social and structural systems, most of which are shaped either directly or indirectly by law. Law can be a powerful influence on health, and it is arguably a determinant of health and equity in health. Indeed, an increasing awareness of this relationship between law and health is critical to the growing movement to declare racism a public health crisis.

In this Web Forum, the CDC’s Public Health Law Program (PHLP) and the National Leadership Academy for the Public’s Health (NLAPH) consider the relationship between health equity and law, the implications of structural racism for health equity, and a pathway that identifies strategies for using law to advance health equity.

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…

Learn more about this Presenter

Samantha Bent Weber, JD

Staff Attorney, Health Equity Law, 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…

Learn more about this Presenter

Moderator

Carmen Rita Nevarez, MD, MPH

Sr. Vice President for External Relations and Preventive Medicine Advisor

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…

Learn more about this Moderator

Presentation Slides

Resources

Date Published: Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Equity Structural Racism and Public Heath Law Resources

Date Published: Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Public Health Law Introduction Videos