Educating the Judiciary about the Social Determinants of Health
Judicial Education Program
June 16, 2023
The Salus Populi judicial education program is a tuition-free, interactive, and discussion-oriented course that will provide judges with the tools they need to recognize how the social determinants of health (SDOH) impact the issues that come before courts and to read and evaluate public health research relating to the SDOH.
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.
Our health and the choices we make are shaped by the social, legal, policy, and environmental contexts in which we live. After all, it’s hard to be healthy without access to good jobs and schools, or safe, affordable homes. We have worked with judges around the country to provide training on the social determinants of health. We cover travel costs and hotel accommodations. Continuing legal education (CLE) credits are available.
Salus Populi is an initiative in collaboration with the Center for Health Policy and Law and the Institute for Health Equity and Social Justice Research at Northeastern University, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and W. K. Kellogg Foundation.