ASU law program releases report for national Health Impact Project

A recently released report prepared by the College of Law’s PHLPP found that a variety of existing laws offer important opportunities to improve Americans’ health. The report was commissioned by the Health Impact Project, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts.

The report, the first comprehensive study of its kind, found “an unexpectedly large number of laws that facilitate the consideration of health effects, in fields such as transportation, energy and agriculture.” Many of these legal requirements may be satisfied by conducting health impact assessments, a study which “helps decision makers identify and address the potential and often unrecognized health risks and benefits of their decisions,” according to the report.

“Our research looked at laws and policies across a broad sample of local, state, tribal, and federal jurisdictions,” said ASU Lincoln Professor of Health Law and Ethics James G. Hodge Jr., director of PHLPP and leader of ASU’s research team. “We found that many laws require public and private actors to identify health risks and benefits underlying key policies. These laws can open the door to using HIAs as a means to fulfill requirements for broad, systematic assessments of health effects to inform specific decisions or processes.” 

The team used a sample of 36 jurisdictions in the United States, and the research showed that existing laws “offer many opportunities for health to be factored into a range of decision making in which it typically would not otherwise be considered.”

To read the full press release, click here. Click here to read the report.

Hodge is Director of the College of Law’s Public Health Law and Policy Program, a Faculty Fellow in the Center for Law, Science & Innovation, and an affiliate faculty member in the ASU School of Human Evolution & Social Change, the School of Public Affairs and the Department of Biomedical Informatics. Through scholarship, teaching, and applied projects, Hodge delves into multiple areas of health law, public health law, global health law, ethics and human rights. He teaches Health Law, Ethics, and Policy, Public Health Law and Ethics, and Global Health Law and Policy.