For this assignment, you will be required to write a brief commentary to a journal of your choice discussing the pros and cons of a particular health policy issue of interest to you and offering a recommendation based on your research and analysis about the particular issue. Choose a topic that will push you to take strong positions. Select a topic that you CARE about. Consider both intervention and prevention programs. Your analysis should be accurate, timely, meaningful, and have an impact factor. Ask the questions: 1) why should the person reading this actually care about this issue?, 2) is a realistic solution suggested?
The format will vary depending on the journal you decide to submit the commentary to. In general the final document will include a description of the problem, some statements about different solution options that can be used to address the problem, and a recommendation drawing on evidence that exists in the literature related to your issue for the best way to solve the problem.
The analysis must represent the interests of a specific client (special interest group executive director, government official, CEO, etc.) and your reading audience. The solution must be realistic. The issue (problem) must be worthy of being placed high on the public agenda. Your objective is to present a problem and then you will offer several alternative choices for addressing the problem after researching solution options. Your goal is to come up with one preferred option through the process of policy analysis. After presentation of the alternatives, you will suggest a final recommendation.
There is no need to reinvent the wheel to develop your section for policy options… rely on research. Borrow (cite original source) language from current policy. Read the mission statement of “your client”. Find historical precedents. Locate policies in the pipeline and adopt relevant language for your proposal (citing resources, of course). “Real world” policy proposals, pending and accepted legislation, and official plans illustrate what could be accomplished. Generate a list of legislation (if present) that passed and bills that died. Look for already developed guidelines, regulations, or programs. Look for new and developing alternatives currently in the “pipeline”:identify policies in the pipeline (proposed, rejected, accepted in other geographic areas). Consider areas for compromise. Consider the possible consequences of action as well as the possible consequences of inaction. Remember that “do nothing” can be an alternative.
Think about your policy options and the positive and negative aspects of each option according to criteria (cost, legal issues, political feasibility, etc.) that your client would specify as important. Dollars won’t fix a problem … but lack of dollars can limit opportunity to fix a problem. Seeing the $$$ distribution indicates public priorities and placement on the public agenda. Generally, you will find that funding and awareness activities will increase if the subject rises on the public agenda … not the other way around. Money (by itself) is NOT a solution. Increasing awareness (by itself) is NOT a solution. The solution (policy) must help to resolve the issue (problem).
The Final Product component of the Policy Proposal Project is an individual effort. Your PPP Final Product will evolve while you work independently on your concept. Change elements (and wording) as you see a need for modification. The policy proposal will be refined and modified through scheduled Step assignments as the semester progresses. Policy creation is a process. It requires time. Expect to research, revise, rethink, compromise, and revise some more when preparing a policy proposal. Rather than be concerned about your grade be inspired to excellence. It takes a few times to revise a publication-ready manuscript.
Adhering to all of the journal’s requirements for authors is required. Try and keep references limited to recent journals. The length of your final manuscript will vary but your final product is to be 8 – 13 pages or a minimum of 1000 words should be submitted for the final assignment unless the journal you select requires less words for commentaries. If you need to go over 13 pages, that is all right but make sure that the extra pages are justified. Please do not go over 15 pages. You decide on how much information (and how many pages) to devote to each section. Focus on necessary content. You would be surprised at how much you can cut out and how you can tighten and solidify your writing. And remember, don’t lose sight of your client and the actual problem statement.
Acceptance for publication to the journal is not a requirement. A main goal of this assignment is to provide the experience of writing for a journal. Acceptance of your manuscript for publication is a bonus. Follow up and revise your work if the journal asks you to resubmit the article. If you need help with a revision after the end of the semester, the professor will be available to provide feedback. Please let me know when you are published.