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Book Review
Exploring Communal Health through Law

In Populations, Public Health, and the Law, Wendy E. Parmet offers something few other legal or policy scholars have produced during the modern “renaissance” in the field of public health law. She offers a compelling, cohesive account of the need for fundamental change in how lawmakers and policy-makers view the role of law in protecting population health. Through her informed historic perspective and astute, modern assessment, she introduces what she terms “population-based legal analysis” and then applies it—a sort of marriage of legal theory and public health methodology—to several critical topics, like food safety, public health federalism, emergency preparedness, tort-based litigation, death and dying, and obesity. Along the way, she proffers a new vision for how courts and other legal decision-makers should move past antiquated notions of individual versus communal interests at the core of public health legal issues to consider population-based solutions.

In Populations, Public Health, and the Law, Wendy E. Parmet offers something few other legal or policy scholars have produced during the modern “renaissance” in the field of public health law. She offers a compelling, cohesive account of the need for fundamental change in how lawmakers and policy-makers view the role of law in protecting population health. Through her informed historic perspective and astute, modern assessment, she introduces what she terms “population-based legal analysis” and then applies it—a sort of marriage of legal theory and public health methodology—to several critical topics, like food safety, public health federalism, emergency preparedness, tort-based litigation, death and dying, and obesity. Along the way, she proffers a new vision for how courts and other legal decision-makers should move past antiquated notions of individual versus communal interests at the core of public health legal issues to consider population-based solutions.

James G. Hodge, Jr., "Exploring Communal Health through Law," Hastings Center Report 40, no. 5 (2010): 46-47.