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From the World Health Organization:
"Health policy refers to decisions, plans, and actions that are undertaken to achieve specific health care goals within a society. An explicit health policy can achieve several things: it defines a vision for the future which in turn helps to establish targets and points of reference for the short and medium term. It outlines priorities and the expected roles of different groups; and it builds consensus and informs people."
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)
Advantages of working with a Health Institute include:
- Established system of advocacy
- They track and research public health policy
Health Institute vs. Health Foundation
- 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 Institues - 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 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
- Their Mission Statement
- Who quotes their work
- The tone and tenor of their site
- Their focus--political, economic, aid, etc.
When considering items that may become policy initiatives, look to the following resources for ideas:
Newspapers and Media outlets
- Choose a person, activist, or group that is vocal in an area that interests you
- 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.