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The purpose of a policy analysis is to provide advice to a decision maker regarding a specific course of action on a public policy decision. For this assignment, conduct a critical analysis of an existing policy of your choice, either at the local, state, or federal level. Develop a short, written policy analysis (1,000 to 1,250 words) related to a public health issue of your choice. Refer to the resource “Guidelines for Preparing a Brief Policy Analysis” when preparing this assignment, and include the following in the policy analysis:

1. Problem Statement: A problem statement should be a clear and concise question that identifies the public health problem addressed in the analysis. The problem statement should be one or two sentences maximum.
2. Background of the Problem: This section should include factual information and evidence necessary to understand the public health problem, describe why the public health problem is important, and explain why the issue needs attention.
3. Landscape of the Problem: This section provides the overall context for the analysis by identifying key stakeholders and the factors that must be considered when analyzing the problem. Include both of the following: a) key stakeholders (should identify the specific key stakeholders relevant to the policy analysis), and b) key factors (should provide the overall context of the issue, including political, economic, practical/feasibility, and legal/ethical factors)
4. Available Options for Action: This section should provide an analysis of 3-5 options for a policy course of action, including the benefits and drawbacks of each course of action. Discuss the evidence and ethical implications of each option.
5. Recommendation: This section should describe one of the previously described options as the recommendation. Clearly identify which option is being recommended and why it was selected over the other options. Describe why it is the best option despite potential drawbacks, and address ways to reduce negative aspects of the recommendation. Describe the potential this policy recommendation could have for public health or health equity.

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Incorporate at least five scholarly sources into your health policy analysis.

Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center. An abstract is not required.

This assignment uses a rubric. Please review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion.

You are required to submit this assignment to LopesWrite. A link to the LopesWrite technical support articles is located in Class Resources if you need assistance.

Benchmark Information: 

This benchmark assignment assesses the following programmatic competencies:

Masters of Public Health 

4.1: Discuss multiple dimensions of the policy-making process, including the roles of ethics and evidence.

4.4: Evaluate policies for their impact on public health and health equity.


Guidelines for Preparing a Brief Health Policy Analysis

What is the purpose of a policy analysis?

A policy analysis provides informed advice relating to a policy decision to a specific stakeholder. The purpose is to provide a recommended course of action, within the context of the stakeholder’s values and realm of influence. Stakeholders for a policy analysis are those with a specific interest in the issue being analyzed, and can include government officials, organization leaders, legislators, advocacy leaders, etc.

How should a policy analysis be structured?

There are various ways in which a policy analysis can be structured, but five steps are essential to a policy analysis. Each section should be clearly identified in your written policy analysis. Each of the following will be addressed further below:

1. Problem statement – Definition of the problem to be addressed in the analysis

2. Background – Factual information for understanding the problem

3. Landscape of the problem – Description of key stakeholders and their concerns/interests

4. Options – Description of the options available to address the problem

5. Recommendation – One recommended course of action

How does one write an effective problem statement?

A problem statement should be one or two sentences in length, be written in the form of a question, and identify the focus of the problem. From your problem statement, you should then be able to identify several options for solving the problem and further discuss in the options section.

What should be included in the background?

The background should include factual information needed to understand the problem, including epidemiological data, impact and scope of the problem, who is affected, etc. This section is informational, not analytical, so the information provided should include facts, not opinion.

What issues should the landscape address?

The landscape of the problem consists of two sub-sections—key stakeholders and key factors. The key stakeholders related to the problem should not be an exhaustive list of all stakeholders, but rather a list of the stakeholders that must be included in the analysis, and for whom the options presented in the analysis are relevant. The key factors to be included in this section are political factors (e.g., policymakers with opposing views), economic factors (e.g., costs of implementation, economic impact of not addressing problem), practical factors (e.g., feasibility of implementation), and legal factors (e.g., legal barriers to implementation). This section can be organized by stakeholder or by factor.

What is included in the options section?

Before writing this section, it would be helpful to identify the various options available to address the problem, then select the best three to five options to include in the analysis. Each option should be distinct from the others and each should address the problem identified in your problem statement. Include the pros and cons of each option. Sources to find already-considered options can include scholarly sources, media articles, interest group recommendations, legislation (proposed or passed), government organizations, etc. The three to five options you include in your analysis should be based on the specific stakeholders for whom the policy analysis is targeted as well as align with their realm of influence. For example, it would not be appropriate to recommend a state law for a policy analysis targeting a member of congress (state legislators pass state laws; congress passes federal laws).

How do I write an effective recommendation?

Your policy analysis should include only one recommendation for action , and should be one of the options presented in the previous section. In the beginning of this section, clearly identify which recommendation you selected. Explain why this recommendation is the best option of the others described, despite the cons/drawbacks described. In addition, describe what efforts can be taken to minimize any drawbacks or negative aspects of implementing your recommendation.

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