"Law determines the nature and distribution of SDOH, and hence the rate and distribution of disease through a variety of mechanisms originating from all levels of government and each branch of government."
In the U.S. legal system, with its strong tradition of judicial review, trial and appellate judges wield enormous authority over critical SDOH, such as housing stability, socio-economic position (as impacted by education and income), access to health care, structural racism, and the quality of the environment. Most empirical research on how law impacts health has focused on the impact of legislation, regulations, and law enforcement, but a small subset of this research demonstrates that judges can impact health. Despite their influence over SDOH, judges’ legal education does not usually discuss SDOH or their relationship to law.
This project aims to fill that gap by informing judges about the SDOH and their relationship to law and by developing and conducting a judicial education program to better equip judges to resolve cases in which the SDOH are implicated.