essential services, mission, public health law, statutory modernization, Turning Point Model State Public Health Act



  1. Meier, Benjamin Mason
  2. Merrill, Jacqueline
  3. Gebbie, Kristine M.


It is unclear whether efforts of the past decade to modernize state public health statutes have succeeded in codifying into state law the currently understood mission and essential services of public health. Although many state health agencies may be operating in a manner consistent with these principles, their codification in state law is crucial for the sustainability of agency efforts in disease prevention and health promotion. This research examines the 50 state public health enabling statutes for their correspondence with the 6 mission statements and the 10 essential services of public health described in Public Health in America. This analysis finds that modernization efforts have not been universally effective in ensuring that the legislative basis of public health is commensurate with the accepted scope of authority necessary to support health agency performance. Given current imperatives for law modernization in public health, this analysis highlights the importance of model statutory language in facilitating the codification of the mission and essential services of public health in state law. As a result, this research provides the practice community with a research base to facilitate statutory reform and develops a framework for future scholarship on the role of law as a determinant of the public's health.