Author: Scott Burris

Why the C.D.C.’s Power to Quarantine Should Worry Us

By KYLE EDWARDS, WENDY PARMET and SCOTT BURRIS JAN. 23, 2017 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new regulations this month that give it broad authority to quarantine Americans. The rules outline for the first time how the federal government can restrict interstate travel during a health crisis, and they establish in­house oversight of whether someone should be detained, without providing a clear and direct path to challenge a quarantine order in federal court. State and local authorities had previously been the ones to usually deal with issues like this during epidemics. Now the administration of Donald J. Trump has even more authority to detain people than the Obama administration had during the Ebola crisis. It’s imperative that whenever the next outbreak hits, emergency health measures are grounded in scientific evidence and guided by clear, fair rules to protect people from wrongful deprivation of their liberties. Consider what happened to Kaci Hickox three years ago, when she landed at Newark Liberty International Airport after volunteering as a nurse for Ebola patients in Sierra …

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Working at the Intersection of Legal Practice and Science for the Public’s Health

If you’ve been up to the third floor of Barrack Hall in the past year, you may have run into some of our staff … lawyers, a few social scientists and communicators, toiling away in Suite 300. If you haven’t stopped in to ask what they’re doing, I encourage you to do so, because it’s exciting, and in many ways, revolutionary. Our work, essentially, supports the widespread adoption of scientific tools and methods for mapping and evaluating the impact of law on health. In 2009, we began as the National Program Office for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Public Health Law Research program under the Law School’s Center for Health Law, Policy and Practice, to make the case for laws that improve health. We were asked by RWJF to build the field and identify methods for researching the impact of laws and policies on health and wellbeing. As we started, we realized that it’s difficult to evaluate the impact of laws and policies on health if you don’t know what the laws and policies are, …