Structural Stigma In Law: Implications And Opportunities For Health And Health EquityDec 15, 2022
Strong, evidence-based health policies have the power to help people live longer, healthier lives. But what about laws and policies that do the opposite?
Farley center scholar (and lead author) Dr. Sarah Hemeida just published a new brief in Health Affairs that identifies language in laws that perpetuate structural stigma. “Structural Stigma In Law: Implications And Opportunities For Health And Health Equity” was coauthored by affiliate faculty Dr. Daniel Goldberg, JD, PhD, student Hallie Conyers-Tucker, and clinical instructor Lina Brou, MPH.
The brief summarizes evidence showing how stigma contributes to poor health outcomes, and the mediating influence of stigmatizing language used in laws and policies. By delving into an example of California laws that stigmatize people with substance use disorder, readers get a deeper understanding of how laws might reinforce social stigma and worsen health outcomes for people with substance use disorder.
For example, authors found language in California employment laws allowing for the termination or prevention of employment due to substance use, which would impact a person’s ability to access recovery services through insurance and other employment-based supports.
The brief concludes by suggesting policy solutions that would combat stigmatizing laws, along with specific actions for public health professionals and policy makers. To learn more, read the brief.