A New Way to Keep Up with New PHLR

This week, PHLR launched its SciVal Experts PHLR Community website.  The core of the site is publications and other information for 300 leading public health law researchers doing empirical evaluations of the impact of laws and legal practices on health. The SciVal system allows visitors to find experts by topic, to trace their institutional and individual networks, and to find the latest publications in the field.

We encourage you to visit the site and explore for yourself, but we’ll also begin periodically sharing batches of publications on this blog.

Our first two papers look at drug policy: Werb et al’s “Interventions to prevent the initiation of injection drug use: A systematic review” reports a lack of evidence supporting an impact from drug control laws.  Traci Green and her team in New England conducted a rapid assessment and response (RAR) study to better understand how police feel about drug overdose and death-prevention tools like immunity for 9-1-1 callers and distribution of naloxone.  Not surprisingly, they find a “need for broader law enforcement engagement around this pressing public health crisis, even in suburban and small town locations, to promote public safety.”

PHLR grantees Bernard Black and David Hyman were authors in a pair of papers reporting results of their study of medical malpractice damages caps.  Their first article, on overall trends, finds – as the title suggests, “The Receding Tide of Medical Malpractice Litigation,” a decline in the per-physician rate of paid claims, in both cap and non-cap states.  Their second article goes into greater detail.  Of methodological interest is their attention to the lag-time between enactment of caps and their imposition in cases, the neglect of which, in their view, explains mixed or weak evidence of effect in prior studies.

PHLR grantee Marc Edwards, whose recent study on the impact of a spike in lead in DC’s water got a lot of press attention, is represented on the SciVal list by a new modeling paper predicting “quantifiable health benefits to students” if school systems in Los Angeles and Seattle implement lead remediation.

There was also a qualitative policy-making study from Ross Brownson’s group on obesity and active living efforts in rural areas, Barnidge et al. (2013), Understanding and addressing barriers to implementation of environmental and policy interventions to support physical activity and healthy eating in rural communities, Journal of Rural Health, 29(1), 97-105,  and a paper of general methodological interest, Gelbach et al.  (2013), Valid inference in single-firm, single-event studies American Law and Economics Review, 15(2), 495-541.

Rounding out the list is PHLR’s own “Critical opportunities for public health law: A call for action,” about which we have blogged before.

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