Law plays myriad essential roles in the promotion and protection of public health. From laws setting product safety standards to environmental regulations targeting carcinogens, the use of law as a tool for improving population health stands out for its power and potential. Notwithstanding the importance of law to health, there has not always been a commitment to rigorous evaluation of the effectiveness of laws in achieving their intended aims. In addition, there are too few thorough studies exploring the unintended impact of laws on health. As a result, opportunities to improve population health are missed, or worse, laws end up creating or perpetuating harm.
Public Health Law Research (PHLR) is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. PHLR promotes effective regulatory, legal and policy solutions to improve public health. PHLR is dedicated to building the evidence base for laws that improve public health. PHLR funds research, improves research methods, and makes evidence more accessible to policy-makers, the media, and the public.