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Course Description

Policymaking happens at the local, state, federal, and even global level. Public health and health care policies impact our lives in a myriad of ways. Historically, government policies have redistributed or concentrated resources, alleviated or exacerbated disparities, and prevented or facilitated discrimination. In some cases, these impacts are known in advance; in other cases, detrimental impacts of policy are unintended consequences. Often—if not always—policy decisions are the result of political compromise, embedded with political bias and ideologies, and known to imperfectly address the stated policy problem. The job of policy analysts is to bring data, evidence, and an analytical lens to the discussion of policy problems and policy solutions.This class will introduce students to the field of policy analysis and the basic concepts and methods for conducting policy analysis in the fields of public health and health care. We will identify public health, health care, social service, political, think tank, and governmental organizations where policy analysis is conducted, and discuss the different and complementary roles of policy analysts across different contexts and sectors. We will draw on examples from a variety of public health and health care policy areas to learn about different analysis techniques. We will debate the value of evidence in influencing policymaking, and discuss the impact of values and bias in policy analysis and decision-making. Students will be introduced to several quantitative and qualitative analysis techniques that can be embedded in policy analyses across an array of contexts. Moreover, students will be exposed to an array of tools, databases, and approaches that are useful for policy analysts. Throughout this course, students will complete real-world policy analyst tasks, ranging from rapid responses to a supervisor’s request for analysis on a policy issue to in-depth research on a policy issue. By the end of this class, students should be able to envision the different roles of a policy analyst across an array of public health and health care organizations, and start to build their policy analysis toolkit for public health practice.

Affiliated With:

  • School of Medicine - Public Health & Professional Degrees