Projects and Centers

The Emergency Law Inventory
Legal Preparedness Public Health Emergencies
Mid-Atlantic Regional Public Health Training Center (MARPHTC)
Public Health Systems—Building Capacity in Public Health Agencies
Tribal Legal Preparedness Project


The Emergency Law Inventory

Student Public Health Epidemic Response Effort

The A state by state look at the laws emergency volunteers need to know. The Emergency Law Inventory (ELI) helps individuals navigate through 1,500 legal summaries impacting volunteer participation in disaster scenarios. Identifying legal issues and accessing laws can be difficult, even for lawyers. ELI removes these barriers and gives users clear, concise summaries of those laws. The laws can be filtered by profession and jurisdiction so users can identify the provisions that are most relevant to them. ELI includes four legal topics relevant to volunteer preparation:

  • Liability – Will I be held legally responsible?
  • License Reciprocity – Will my professional license be recognized in another jurisdiction?
  • Scope of Practice – What can and can’t I do in another jurisdiction?
  • Workers’ Benefits – What if I am injured while volunteering? What happens to my job if I leave to volunteer?

For more information on ELI or to find out how we can help you create a database of laws for your group, contact us at or visit

NOTE: The content on the ELI site is offered only as a public service and does not constitute solicitation or provision of legal advice. This site and this tool should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney licensed or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. You should always consult a suitably qualified attorney regarding any specific legal problem or matter.

ELI was supported by the Cooperative Agreement, Number 5 U36 OE000002-04 505, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health. The contents of this site are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC, the Department of Health and Human Services, or ASPPH.

Legal Preparedness for Public Health Emergencies

Recent infectious disease outbreaks from viruses such as Ebola and Zika, as well as natural disasters, such as Hurricane Matthew, have demonstrated the continued need for emergency preparedness, response, and recovery efforts. Laws and policies are foundations upon which public health efforts are based. Public health legal preparedness, a subset of public health preparedness, incorporates the legal authority required to respond to crises, coordinates public health response across jurisdictions, adjudicates disputes, and aids in recovery post-crisis.

Laws can be difficult to identify, distill, and understand; there is often confusion concerning the appropriate legal authority governing emergency response. In order to effectively prepare for and respond to disasters, it is critical that the judiciary, public health officials, practitioners of public health law, and other agents in the emergency response system are familiar with the statutory and regulatory provisions that govern their actions.

The Center for Public Health Practice has extensive experience in preparing public health emergency law manuals and bench books, as well as conducting trainings.

Public health emergency law manuals and bench books organize and summarize laws to enable public health system agents to engage in evidence-based decision making and, ultimately, be better prepared to protect the public’s health. These resources can be customized to meet organizational needs.

Trainings for public health system agents are also effective strategies to prepare for disasters and emergencies. These trainings assist public health agents to identify, evaluate, and implement legal interventions to neutralize threats to the public’s health and inform public health professionals of their authority to act in times of emergency.

Contact us today at to learn more!

Mid-Atlantic Regional Public Health Training Center

Student Public Health Epidemic Response Effort

The Mid-Atlantic Regional Public Health Training Center (MAR-PHTC) specializes in continuing education and professional development for the public health workforce in DHHS Region III. Based at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, MAR-PHTC is operated in partnership with:

  • DC Health
  • DC Primary Care Association
  • Delaware Department of Health and Social Services
  • Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health
  • Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers
  • West Virginia Local Health Inc.
  • West Virginia University School of Public Health.

Our content capabilities, professional experience, and partnership attitude provide the public health system with the training needed to enhance the skills and knowledge of its most valuable asset—the workforce. Backed by teams who stay focused on partner relationships and results, we embrace a culture of continuous improvement while aligning our professional development services to individual and organizational needs for meaningful outcomes.

Advancing public health practice in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia,
West Virginia, and Washington D.C. through:

  • Assessment - MAR-PHTC works closely with state and local health departments to assess training needs and preferences at the individual and organizational levels.
  • Training - Drawing on the expertise of faculty and consultants, MAR-PHTC identifies, develops, and delivers both distance-accessible and in-person training to meet identified needs and provides continuing education credits for multiple disciplines.
  • Content Areas - Training opportunities for the workforce in the Mid-Atlantic states focus on crosscutting competencies such as management, data analysis, communications, and cultural awareness.
  • Partner Relations - MAR-PHTC maintains rich connections to the public health workforce in state and local health departments in order to deliver targeted and tailored professional development opportunities.

Visit or contact to learn more!

MAR-PHTC is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number 1 UB6HP31689-01-00 "Public Health Training Center Program" for $3,699,596. This information or content of the project and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government.

Public Health Systems Studies—Building Capacity in Public Health Agencies

Public health agencies evolve in a way that is planned and responsive to the needs of their population. To assist in this ongoing development and toward achieving a sustainable and resilient public health system, the Center for Public Health Practice (CPHP) does research and provides services in…

  • Training, facilitation, consultation, and technical assistance to local and state public health agencies who are pursuing accreditation from the Public Health Accreditation Board. These services include facilitating the development of strategic plans, community health needs assessments, community health improvement plans, workforce development plans, and job description reviews.
  • Developing and providing training for the public health workforce
  • Law and policy recommendations for public health
  • Program planning
  • Group facilitation
  • Community engagement
  • Helping build public health systems

The public health system plays a critical role in improving the population’s health and optimizing conditions in which people can be healthy. CPHP can help! Contact us at

Tribal Legal Preparedness Project

Public health legal preparedness is an important component of public health capacity, as it is critical that all levels of government have the capacity to effectively respond to threats from public health emergencies and natural disasters. Tribal governments, as sovereign entities, have the authority to create their own laws. However, many Tribal communities have not yet exercised their public health authority by creating agencies or developing laws. Jurisdictional issues between federal, state, local, and Tribal governments complicate public health emergency response in Indian Country. Recent public health emergencies, including infectious disease outbreaks and natural disasters, have demonstrated that coordination and collaboration among jurisdictions is necessary to protect public health in Indian Country.

The Tribal Legal Preparedness Project has been established to assist Tribal Nations interested in expanding their legal preparedness capacity. Since 2012, the Center for Public Health Practice has been working with Tribal Nations and their key partners across the United States to enhance Tribal legal preparedness for public health emergencies and natural disasters.

Presently, there are 73 federally recognized Tribes across the country, with varying public health infrastructure. Some Tribes have established health departments and public health codes; other have one element, but not both; still others have neither. Thus, state and local health departments may play a critical role in the delivery of health care services to Tribal Nations, such as providing vaccinations and screenings, as well as other public health functions, like outbreak investigations and natural disaster response.

In order to effectively provide these vital services to Tribal Nations, state and local health departments must understand Tribal sovereignty, cultural considerations, and the complex history surrounding the delivery of health care and public health services to Tribal communities. This understanding will enable state and local health departments to build trust with Tribal Nations, leading to partnerships and collaborations with Tribal governments that will improve public health.

Services provided:

  • In-person trainings
  • Online learning modules
  • Listening session facilitation
  • Other assistance

If you are interested in working with Tribal Nations in your community, contact


Student Public Health Epidemic Response Effort

WalkWorks, a collaboration of the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the University of Pittsburgh, aims to increase opportunities for physical activity through the development of fun, fact-filled walking routes and sustainable walking groups in communities across Pennsylvania.

  • Physical activity is one of the most important actions one can take to improve one’s overall health. Walking is easy and accessible AND has numerous health benefits such as reducing obesity and related chronic diseases while supporting positive mental health and healthy aging.
  • The U.S. Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities stresses the importance of physical activity for people of all ages and abilities. In support of this, WalkWorks also promotes the adoption of health-related transportation policies to create more walkable, bikeable, healthy communities.

Health in All Policies

  • Health in all Policies (HiAP) is a matter of sharing responsibility for population health.
  • The goal of HiAP is to institutionalize health considerations into decision-making. Further, it calls for collaboration across multiple sectors—education, health, planning, transportation, and others—in the development of public policy.
  • By adopting this collaborative approach, diverse sectors can commit to integrating and articulating health considerations into policy-making to improve health, promote economic stability, increase access to transportation alternatives, enhance the likelihood of sustainability, and more.
  • By adopting a resolution in support of HiAP, decision-makers are acknowledging the importance of considering health in their future deliberations, including the setting of priorities in plans and policies.
  • Leaders and policy-makers at all levels of government—local, regional, national, and international—are encouraged to adopt a HiAP resolution

To learn more about WalkWorks and available resources, including a guide to implementing a like program, or to learn more about Health in all policies or to request a sample resolution, email