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NAQC Newsroom: Announcements

Tobacco Law Center Changes Name

Thursday, April 8, 2010  
Dear Colleagues:

For ten years, we’ve helped America use the law to improve public health. As we mark the occasion during National Public Health Week 2010, we want to share some exciting news.

First, it’s official: we’ve changed our name. During nearly a decade as the Tobacco Law Center, we saw our role expand far beyond our original focus. As we helped health advocates strengthen America’s tobacco prevention policies, we soon found ourselves drawn into other areas, and quickly learned that our legal skills and expertise were equally applicable to other health priorities, from childhood obesity, to healthier eating, worker health, housing issues and product regulation. In a way, this broadening of our role paralleled the growing realization within the public health community that law is central to most public health functions. In recognition of our expanded approach, we have changed our name, and are now the Public Health Law Center. You will find us on the web at

Second, and most importantly, we are profoundly honored to tell you that we have been selected by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to help develop a new national legal network to build the field of public health law. Recognizing that many health departments across the country are hampered by limited access to legal expertise, the Foundation has asked us to help create a technical assistance network of legal experts to complement the legal resources of local and state health departments. When the new network opens its doors later this year, we will serve as the national coordinating center. Our work will be led by Dan Stier, a nationally respected figure in public health, who joins us from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention after many years as chief legal counsel to Wisconsin’s health and social services department.

Much about us will remain unchanged. Our mission—improving health through the power of law—will continue. We will still lead America’s legal network for tobacco control, the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium. Our experienced team of legal and policy experts will continue to serve health officials, advocates, and policymakers across the country, even as we grow. We will continue and strengthen our proud affiliation with Minnesota’s largest law school, the William Mitchell College of Law. And, as always, our success will be built on the trust and respect of our partners throughout the world of public health—people like you. So we thank you sincerely for your support and friendship over the last decade, and we look forward to working with you in the future to advance America’s health.


Doug Blanke
Public Health Law Center

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