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Health Policy Strategies

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

The purpose of media advocacy is to put pressure on policymakers by mobilizing community groups and improving news coverage of health issues. It is not an attempt to overhaul the mass media but rather to change specific policies that influence health.

At the national level, the United States Department of Health and Human Services oversees the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. The Agency’s overall function is to “serve the public by using the best science, taking responsive public health actions, and providing trusted health information to prevent harmful exposures and disease related to toxic substances.

At the local level, public health laboratories provide diagnostic testing, disease surveillance, applied research, laboratory training and other essential services to the communities they serve.  Laboratory work is diverse, yet accomplished by highly trained and skilled professionals.

Public health laboratory professionals and epidemiologists are the ones working behind the scenes on the issues that you hear about in the news.  These include:  newborn screening; Lyme disease; West Nile virus; food borne illness outbreak investigations; and bio-terrorism threats. The  Association of Public Health Laboratories   was founded by state and territorial public health laboratory directors serving communities across the United States.  You may want to visit this website to learn more about the public health laboratory expertise and services available in your own community.


Starfield, B., & Shi, L. (2002). Policy relevant determinants of health: an international perspective.  Health Policy,  60(3), 201-218.


Group, T. E. (1990). EuroQol-a new facility for the measurement of health-related quality of life.  Health policy,  16(3), 199-208.

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