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Considering a cross-sector public health project? Know your data laws, experts say

October 10, 2018 / Rose Meltzer

Laws that govern the use of data protection in public health are a fragmented “patchwork,” making it difficult for advocates and policymakers to leverage data effectively to address public health problems, according to a pair of public health legal analysts. The public health realm can utilize many types of data, such as social services or law enforcement data, in addition to health data, said Jennifer Bernstein, a staff attorney with the Network for Public Health Law. But “there’s a whole scheme of federal laws,” as well as “an overlay of state law,” that govern the use of all sorts of personal information, she noted.