Legal Aspects of Public Health Emergency Preparedness

Photo of sign post with choices.Public health law, whether in an emergency or in routine situations, is a balancing act between keeping the public healthy and protecting individual freedoms. Although we don’t always think about it ahead of time, emergencies create unique legal circumstances for public health agencies and their staff.

This online course is intended as an overview which addresses, and raises questions to consider in the planning and delivery of public health or healthcare services in large scale emergencies, across different jurisdictions. The content for this course was developed in partnership with the Network for Public Health Law Western Region Office at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Arizona State University.

This course is co-provided by the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice (NWCPHP) and Continuing Nursing Education (UWCNE) at the University of Washington.

Target Audience

Public health practitioners from different states who work in or with emergency preparedness programs and the attorneys who work with them.

Objectives for Learning Outcomes

After completing this course, you will be better able to:

  • Identify key features of legal authority at different levels of government for responding to public health emergencies
  • Describe potential or actual legal powers, responsibilities, and risks during declared emergencies
  • Describe legal questions relating to the use of medical or public health volunteers during emergencies

Additional Information

Course summary
Maximum credit available: 
  • 1.50 Contact hours
  • 0.00 Pharmacology hours at the advanced practice level

Please see the module developer list in the course content.

Available Credit

  • 1.50 Contact hours
  • 0.00 Pharmacology hours at the advanced practice level


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