Underpinning any public health emergency response is a complex legal and regulatory framework. Understanding the interplay between the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government is key to ensure policies and actions are based on solid legal footing. This podcast examines the role of the judicial branch and explores how the Tribal Legal Preparedness Project at the University of Pittsburgh Center for Public Health Practice is working to enhance the legal preparedness of tribal nations. There are 573 federally recognized Indian tribes across 35 states in the United States. These tribal governments are sovereign entities and operate within their own authority to create and enforce their own laws, including those that would be used to respond to public health emergencies.
Legal preparedness is a vital component of emergency preparedness for all jurisdictions, including sovereign tribal nations. For example, in an infectious disease outbreak, tribal nations may need to quarantine their members. If laws, policies, and procedures are not in place, that process can be complicated, particularly if jurisdictional issues arise due to the location of the tribal member. This can also lead to delays in protecting public health.
In this podcast, Domestic Preparedness Advisor and attorney Andrew Roszak discusses the importance of enhancing legal preparedness capacity before disasters. He is joined by Tina Batra Hershey, JD, MPH, who is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, an adjunct professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and the associate director of law and policy at the Center for Public Health Practice.
Read The Importance of Legal Preparedness for Tribal Nations