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Book and Media Reviews
August 12, 2009

Populations, Public Health, and the Law

JAMA. 2009;302(6):691-692. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1166

Wendy Parmet is a constitutional law scholar who has worked on health, public health, and disability law issues for many years. Like many constitutional scholars, she believes in individual liberties and is suspicious of public health restrictions imposed on individuals. To her credit, she has remained consistent in her views following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, not succumbing to the siren song of administration funding for those willing to support emergency public health laws. Unusual among constitutional law scholars, Parmet likewise understands and is deeply concerned about statistical lives. She is critical of the United States legal system and health policy apparatus for being overly concerned with individuals, to the detriment of the health of populations and ultimately to the health of the individuals in those populations. Populations, Public Health, and the Law presents her theory of population health and of how judges should use it to transform the US legal system.

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