Healthcare Administration Students Discuss Proposed Vaping Legislation with U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro
As part of a class project, three candidates in the University of New Haven’s master of healthcare administration program proposed legislation to help address the ongoing illnesses associated with e-cigarettes and other vaping products, and they are hoping their proposal will lead to lasting changes.
November 15, 2019
By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing & Communications
For Natalie Anderson ’20 MHA, addressing the dangers of vaping – especially when it comes to young people – is a national issue that she and her classmates, Denise Carr ’20 MHA and Scarlett Wood ’20 MHA, are passionate about.
“The use of electronic cigarettes has turned into a public health crisis,” said Anderson. “The number of illnesses and deaths continue to rise without government action. I was interested in learning how we could help put a stop to this crisis.”
In their “Law and Public Health” class, they learned how they could make a meaningful difference. They studied how to prepare a written legislative proposal, as well as how to navigate the political and legislative landscape.
As part of an assignment, students drafted a model piece of legislation in an area of significance in the current public health environment. They included their rationale for the legislation, identified stakeholders, and, in many cases, identified how prior legislation may have failed and explored alternative approaches. They then had to try to connect with a legislator at the municipal, state, or federal level to get feedback on the draft proposal and to try to gain the legislator’s support.
Anderson, Carr, and Wood developed a proposal requiring the FDA to complete a pre-market analysis on all e-cigarettes and vaping products. After reaching out to U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro, they discussed their proposal with one of her staff members in Washington, D.C. They were then invited to meet with Rep. DeLauro after she held a press conference on the issue at Yale New Haven Hospital.
"I'm particularly proud of the energy and effort the students put into this project. In a short mini-semester term, the groups took this project incredibly seriously and learned a great deal about navigating public health initiatives through the political, legislative, and regulatory climate." David Lane
“It was such a pleasure to meet her,” said Wood. “She made her staff available to us as a resource, both in Connecticut and in Washington, D.C., and we learned so much from her in terms of the key issues on Capitol Hill. She was very down to earth and incredibly kind.”
The 13 students in this course – who are pursuing their MHA through the University’s Yale New Haven Health Corporate Program – worked in groups on proposals on different subjects. Professor David Lane, the students’ instructor, wanted them to learn how to adjust their focus when pushing for legislation in order to achieve success.
"I'm particularly proud of the energy and effort the students put into this project,” he said. “In a short mini-semester term, the groups took this project incredibly seriously and learned a great deal about navigating public health initiatives through the political, legislative, and regulatory climate."
Anderson, Carr, and Wood will be keeping close tabs on legislation Rep. DeLauro has introduced, and they are hoping it will lead to lasting change in vaping regulation.
“We will continue to watch her legislative proposal on the Youth Vaping Prevention Act of 2019, as this is very similar to our legislative proposal to ban vaping until the FDA reviews the products,” said Carr. “We have learned from this project that there are many obstacles to overcome when trying to propose legislation, but we have the ability to reduce the harm that vaping is causing. As public health advocates, we have the ability to make a difference in the lives of others.”