Introduction to Legal Mapping

Laws can shape the environments in which we live, influence our behaviors, and have profound impacts on our health. Whether they address infectious disease, violence, drug use, chronic disease, or housing, the existence and enforcement of certain laws can affect health outcomes.  

Our Introduction to Legal Mapping training is the second part of a three-part series on legal epidemiology. It builds on the ideas discussed in the first training, Introduction to Legal Epidemiology, which introduced legal epidemiology—the scientific study of how laws can affect health. This training explores a specific process for practicing legal epidemiology called legal mapping.

Legal mapping can help public health lawyers, policy analysts, epidemiologists, and public health practitioners determine what laws exist on a certain topic, collect the information needed to analyze what those laws say, and ultimately measure the effect these laws have on health outcomes.

After this training, you will be able to

  • define what legal mapping is;
  • explain the reasons for using legal mapping;
  • discuss the two types of legal mapping studies; and
  • apply legal mapping principles to fill needs in public health practice.

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