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NURS 7322 - Healthcare Policy, Analysis and Advocacy: Policy Initiatives

An introduction to resources for health policy research in NURS 7322.


From the World Health Organization:
Health policy defines health goals at the international, national or local level and specifies the decisions, plans and actions to be undertaken to achieve these goals. An explicit health policy can achieve several things: it clarifies the values on which a policy is based; it defines a vision for the future, which in turn helps to establish objectives and the priorities among them; and it facilitates setting targets and milestones for the short and medium term.


Professional Associations

These resources will help you track bills and/or initiatives specifically related to the practice of nursing:

  • American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)
  • American Nurses Association (ANA)
  • American Public Health Association (APHA)
  • National Association of Rural Health Clinics (NARHC)
  • National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL)

Health Institutes

Advantages of working with a Health Institute include:

  • Established system of advocacy
  • They track and research public health policy


Quick Definitions

  • Research Institutes - endowed for doing research, usually in a specific area
  • Think Tanks - a type of research institute, also known as policy institutes
  • Public Health Institutes - non-profit, can be governmental organizations, focus on organizing public health efforts
  • Academic Health Institutes - associated with a college or university, intended to turn academic research into a guide for health care and health policy, a category of Research Institutes
  • Foundations - a legal categorization of non-profit entities that donate funds and support to other organizations, or provide funding for its own charitable purposes
  • Private Foundations - typically endowed by an individual or family


Think Tanks

Think Tanks are institutes that conduct research and advocacy on specific topics, like social policy and health care. Think tanks matter because they influence policy in a variety of ways including testifying before Congress, media appearances, and funded research projects. Visit a think tank's website to get ideas about policy issues on the forefront.

Always read the "About" section to determine whether a particular Think Tank will be a good resource. Transparency is key. Determine whether the Think Tank discloses:

  • Financial information
  • Funding sources
  • Leadership information
  • Their Annual Report

Look at:

  • Their Mission Statement
  • Who quotes their work
  • The tone and tenor of their site
  • Their focus--political, economic, aid, etc.


Other Resources

When considering items that may become policy initiatives, look to the following resources for ideas:

Newspapers and Media outlets


  • Trends
  • Choose a person, activist, or group that is vocal in an area that interests you

Facebook pages

  • Of policy makers at all levels
  • Of businesses in the industry


  • CDC Blogs - this is a list that you can choose from
  • Health Affairs official blog
  • Any stakeholder that writes about a topic that interests you

Lobbying vs. Advocacy

See the Quorum Public Affairs Dictionary definition of legislative advocacy.

Lobbying and advocacy: whether an individual or group qualifies as a lobbyist is defined by state law.