The Public Health Emergency Law

By LawrenceGarcia

To develop the PHEL Competencies, PHLP staff

Used a deliberative process that built on existing frameworks for competency-based public health emergency curricula
Reviewed and analyzed existing statements of competencies, performance benchmarks, and other related standards for public health work force development in public health emergency preparedness and in general public health practice
Communicated with public health practitioners, public health emergency professionals, academics, public health lawyers across state, tribal, local, and territorial (STLT) jurisdictions, and ASPH education specialists.

Using the PHEL Competencies
Ideally, the PHEL Competencies will be used to advance the inclusion of law-based content in all public health emergency training, resources, and tools. This would ensure that more state and local mid-tier public health professionals could improve competency in this critical area. For example,

STLT preparedness coordinators and other public health professionals can use these competencies when they update or revise related job descriptions
Mid-tier public health professionals can use this model as a self-assessment tool
Preparedness coordinators can bring the competencies to their department’s legal advisors’ attention to start discussions about which specific federal or STLT laws might be implicated by each competency, and to identify ways to ensure relevant professionals are provided opportunities to increase their knowledge, skills, and abilities in public health emergency law

Legal preparedness is an integral part of comprehensive preparedness for emerging public health threats and all-hazards emergencies. It has been characterized as a subset of public health preparedness and is defined as the “attainment by a public health system . . . of legal benchmarks essential to the preparedness of the public health system.” The four core elements of public health legal preparedness are

Laws—legal authorities based in science and on contemporary principles of jurisprudence
Competencies—professionals who know their operating legal framework and how to apply law to public health goals
Coordination—to implement law-based actions across jurisdictions and sectors
Information—on public health emergency law best practices and promising policies