The Incarceration and Public Health Action Network (IPHAN) exists to build and mobilize a national public health effort and action focusing a public health lens on the issue of mass incarceration. It seeks to address the persistent societal, economic, and human rights problems that result from incarceration and the physical and mental toll it continues to take on healthy populations, on individuals at risk for incarceration, and on our communities.
On June 3rd and 4th, 2014, the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health organized and hosted a Tow Foundation-funded conference, “A Public Health Approach to Incarceration: Opportunities for Action.” This conference harnessed the strong interest for incarceration and public health-related research, education, and programmatic activity at the School and around the country. More specifically, it generated considerable energy from a roster of Deans, Program Heads, and Scholars representing over 50 schools and programs of public health. Afterwards, they provided important feedback, recommendations, and offers of collaboration for next steps regarding building and strengthening a national public health effort and action in this area.
IPHAN is a follow-up to this effort. It was facilitate cross-institutional collaboration, and promote strengthening public health coursework and action related to mass incarceration and criminal justice.