The Public Health Law Center is committed to co-creating healthier, more equitable communities with our partners and allies. The roots of racism and other forms of systemic bias and oppression are deep. Laws and policies have contributed to significant disparities by failing to protect, and often actively harming, groups who are socially and economically marginalized. As professionals working with law and policy, we strive to center equity across our work in support of policy change that leads towards a more just and equitable world.


Land Acknowledgment

(Developed by the Mitchell Hamline School of Law’s Native American Law and Sovereignty Institute
and used on our website with permission)


    Below are just a few of our resources that center equity in policy. Visit the Health Equity at the Public Health Law Center webpage to learn more.

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    Teens Gardening

    Equity and Inclusion in Public Health Laws

    Law impacts our health and our opportunities to lead healthy lives in multi-layered ways. This resource offers guidance on how to use the Five Essential Public Health Law Services Framework and other resources to address racism and other social determinants of health in the public health sector.

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      Food Justice Rally in New York

      Healthy Food Policy Project: Towards Equitable and Just Food Systems

      This resource explores the evolving language of food systems and policy work centered on addressing structural racism and inequity. It describes equity-focused terms and frameworks related to the food system, outlines how these terms and frameworks are used in food policy, and provides examples of what they mean in practice.

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      Kid denying cigarette offer

      The Tobacco Industry & the Black Community: The Targeting of African Americans

      Factsheet describing the tobacco industry’s manipulation and abuse of targeted, at-risk populations and its use of front groups, distortion, and corporate giving to mask disreputable corporate conduct.

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      Kids sitting on floor for storytime

      Grounded in Equity: Effective Public Health Law & Policy

      Public Health Law Center attorneys provide an overview of key terminology and theories such as the social determinants of health, inequity, and health equity, and describe ways to ensure that equity is addressed in every stage of the law and policy change process, including research, solution identification, drafting, advocacy, enforcement, and evaluation.

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      Group of people at a fair

      Does a human rights-based approach to harm reduction support commercialized harm reduction?

      This article, written by staff attorney Neil Sircar and research assistant Mary Fleming, reviews industry materials from 2017 to 2022 to identify themes in the harm reduction narrative of the tobacco industry and analyse those themes using an HRBA to the tobacco harm reduction framework.

      Link to article

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      Danish Institute Quote on tobacco as irreconcilable with the human right to health.

      Lipstick on a Pig: A Look at the Tobacco Industry’s Human Rights Rhetoric

      The tobacco industry is increasingly using human rights language to promote themselves. However, as British American Tobacco (BAT) demonstrates, the tobacco industry is also not reconciling its own contributions to human rights concerns – most especially the human right to health.

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      Sign that reads "Health Equity"

      Centering Equity in the Tobacco Control Act's Public Health Standard

      Overview of the legal standard by which FDA makes some of its most important tobacco control regulatory decisions and explanation of why health equity should guide its decision making in setting product standards and reviewing new products.

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