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ABSTRACT: Despite the potential for public health strategies to decrease the substantial burden of injuries, injury prevention infrastructure in state health departments is underdeveloped. We sought to describe the legal support for injury prevention activities at state health departments. We searched the Lexis database for state laws providing authority for those activities, and categorized the scope of those laws. Only 10 states have authority that covers the full scope of injury prevention practice; in the others, legal authority is piecemeal, nonspecific, or nonexistent. More comprehensive legal authority could help health departments access data for surveillance, work with partners, address sensitive issues, and garner funding. Efforts should be undertaken to enhance legal support for injury prevention activities across the country.
American Journal of Public Health 04/2012; 102(6):1067-78. · 3.93 Impact Factor