Health Policy: Policy Problem Statement

This week’s assignment is focused on having you determine which health policy issue you would like to use as the basis for two upcoming assignments, the Policy Brief and the Policy Analysis. Prior to beginning this week’s assignment, you are encouraged to review the instructions for these two assignments in weeks seven and eight. Because you will be focusing on the issue you select this week throughout the rest of the course, you are encouraged to choose an issue that is important to you (personally or professionally) and want to investigate further. Take some time to think through various health-related problems that affect you or your friends/family and/or are significant on a local, state, or federal scale. Your topic can be anything you want as long as you are able to clearly define it as a policy-relevant question that can be analyzed. Some examples of policy-relevant health issues are:
• Health workforce shortages
• Availability of women’s reproductive health services
• Health disparities
• Un- and under-insured populations’ access to health care
• Pharmaceutical regulations
• Health care cost control
• Gun control
• Tobacco, alcohol, and other drug control
As we have learned from our readings, the first and arguably most important step in the policy analysis process is problem definition. For this assignment, you will describe a policy-relevant health problem, explain why and for whom the problem is important, and state the problem as a policy-relevant question. Keep in mind that not all health problems are necessarily policy-relevant, so you should think critically about the problem you select based on our readings. You are encouraged to review the sections of our readings and module notes that discuss what types of health issues warrant policy interventions and how to best articulate those issues as policy questions. In addition, be sure to avoid some of the common pitfalls in problem definition such as defining the solution in the problem or making assumptions about the causes of problems. Remember, in your upcoming assignments, you will use the policy question you create this week to develop a health policy brief presentation and a written health policy analysis.
For this assignment, you will do a three to five minute presentation (as a screencast) of your policy problem. Your presentation should:
• Describe a policy-relevant problem
• Explain why the problem is important
• Describe the target audience for the policy
• Clearly state the problem as a policy-relevant question
Creating Screencasts
This course requires you to create screencasts for some of your assignments. A screencast is essentially a presentation that you give using your home computer. Screencast software allows you to record your voice (through your computer’s microphone) and what is on your computer screen (such as a PowerPoint presentation). Screencasting and video creation may be new to some students. You are strongly encouraged to leave yourself a generous amount of time to create your screencasts if this is new to you. Below are some additional resources and tips to help you create screencasts and videos.

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