30 Jan Elected officials draft and enact legislation that shapes our society. Policies that directly impact healthcare, such as the Affordable Care Act, can transform people
Elected officials draft and enact legislation that shapes our society. Policies that directly impact healthcare, such as the Affordable Care Act, can transform people’s access to medical care. However, the decisions community leaders and politicians make about public policies in other areas still have significant effects on people’s health.
When examining the intersection of community health and public policy, people often focus on the quality and accessibility of clinical care. Those are valuable indicators of health outcomes, but seemingly unrelated public policies are closely intertwined with other social determinants of health, which include:
*Accessible public transportation
*Quality public education options
*Protection from discrimination and violence
Here’s a closer look at three examples of how public policies can impact community health.
Protecting Communities With Safety Policies and Mandates
An example of public policy that protects people’s well-being is the Safe Drinking Water Act. It dictates the minimum standards for drinking water quality and holds states, municipalities, and drinking water suppliers to those requirements. Also, federal agencies, such as the Fair Trade Commission, Food & Drug Administration, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission, establish regulations on having warning labels on medicines, cigarettes, and other products that can affect people’s health.
Creating and Maintaining Public Services
Directly and indirectly, highways, schools, police forces, and flood control systems are all examples of public services that impact people’s health and well-being. Policies that direct funding away from critical infrastructure place a greater burden on citizens, which has knock-on effects on their health. For example, most people who don’t have a car rely on public transportation. If a city cuts back on funding for public buses, it becomes more difficult for these citizens to visit their doctors. Additionally, they will have less access to grocery stores to buy healthy foods, as well as parks and gyms for exercise.
Establishing Accessibility to a Higher Quality of Life
Simply promoting healthy choices won’t necessarily change people’s lives and habits. Public officials can fund initiatives to address these disparities and issues more directly. Politicians and community leaders can influence policies that have significant impacts on people’s lives, such as:
Determining whether to build an industrial plant close enough to a neighborhood to affect its air and water quality
Funding child care programs for parents who work multiple jobs
Organizing events for free flu shots and dental checkups
This week’s learning activity will consist of the following:
How would you, as a health professional, plan policy change in your community to address the realities of millions of older adults living in urban communities?
Explain to the rest of the group how you would plan this policy change in your community. Be sure to include epidemiological and statistical data in your background of the problem identified that is driving the policy change.
– no more than 10 % plagiarism accepted
– 3 scholarly references no older than 5 years
– Due date January 31, 2024