Scales of Justice
LawAtlas: Tracking the Laws of Public Health
Public health informatics is about information informing action, and nowhere is that linkage more clear than in the way the law is used as a public health intervention. We have better, safer roads today because we had information that told us that seat belts and airbags could prevent injury and death from automobile accidents. Public safety advocates then acted on that information to help pass laws mandating seat belt use and the installation of airbags.

Because law underpins almost every action public health practitioners take, I was happy to come across LawAtlas, a new tool that makes it easier to follow public health laws across the country. With LawAtlas you can view interactive maps that show the evolution of various laws and you can download prepared summaries of current laws based on a variety of topics including distracted driving and sports concussions.

The site is still in beta, but I see it as a critical tool for helping practitioners and legislators understand how law is being used to advance health.