Public Health Policy

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In this subject you will be equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to participate competently in the development, implementation and analysis of health policy at a level appropriate to a generalist public health practitioner. You will: analyse the impact of the major state, national and international institutions, and arrangements on health policy making; locate the factors in the contemporary public policy environment and political landscape which influence health policy making; demonstrate familiarity with the theories, arguments and the politics associated with major contemporary health policy issues; demonstrate competence in policy analysis, policy development and policy advocacy skills needed to achieve public health objectives.


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  1. analyse and critically appraise the major state, national and international institutions and arrangements through which health policy is made
  2. analyse and synthesise information and evidence on the contemporary policy environment within which health policy making takes place;
  3. demonstrate familiarity with the theories, arguments and the politics associated with major contemporary health policy issues and evaluate these against theoretical parameters;
  4. apply and critique policy analysis, policy development and policy advocacy in relation to important public health issues.


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What communication of evidence would work better?

For the individual mid-term paper (due 16 April) students are to select a policy issue close to their heart. They are to write an academic-level, fully referenced and well structured (headings, paragraphs, figure and table captions where necessary) report on the policy issue determining existing problems, current policies, prevalent politics and governance determinants, and reflect on political theory that would enhance the possibility of new policy being formed for this particular issue. Students who do not immediately find a policy issue close to their heart may be inspired by using the ‘issue selector’ as outlined in the introductory lecture (watch the first lecture video). The description of the policy issue will be followed by a discussion of a particular theory of the policy process that the student feels could be applied to policy development for resolution of the issue.

A very short description of the policy issue (<200 words), substantiated by three media expressions (e.g., newspaper article, tweet, blog, etc.) will have to be submitted to the subject coordinator by e-mail by 20 March 17:00. The submission will have to be in pdf format. Students who do not meet this deadline will be assigned a policy issue.

Based on the assignment submissions due 16 April 2015, the subject coordinator will form groups of like-minded students who will join in developing a policy brief on a given (and similar to individual policy issue) topic. This policy brief will be submitted by group. Deadline is 16 May 2015, 17:00.

Based on these submissions students will develop a 2 minute ‘elevator pitch’, due 4 June 2015, 17:00. The elevator pitch will be in the form of a video recording. Use your webcam, smartphone, or tablet for the recording (you may require help from a colleague). Technical instructions for storage and uploading of the videos will be handed out in the second half of the semester.

For all assignments an assessment rubric will be made available under the below links.

  1. Individual paper
  2. Group paper
  3. Individual video


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Please note that pdfs of the lecture handouts can also be found on the La Trobe LMS site for this subject.

  1. Organisation & expectations
  2. What is policy?
  3. Political thought
  4. Theory
  5. Governance
  6. Mid-term paper
  7. Evidence
  8. Instruments
  9. Analysis
  10. Advocacy
  11. Policy interviews


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Wherever possible sessions in the subject will be recorded, whether they are online or on campus. Please check back regularly to see which sessions can be accessed:

  1. Monday Collaborate Sessions
  2. Tuesday Workshop Sessions


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There are different ways of maintaining contact, both within the student cohort as well as between student (groups) and staff. All broadcast e-mail and messages will be run through the La Trobe LMS. This is also where assignments need to be uploaded.

Queries and requests of a generic nature should be posted through the LMS. Feedback on the lectures, readings and other materials can be left under the 'Discussion' tabs for each specific element in this Wikiversity site (click 'edit' and remember to save your work. For a quick cheat sheet 'doing' a wiki refer to this wiki cheat sheet.

Content for this subject may be tweeted. Use the subject code hashtag: #PHE5POL. @evelynedeleeuw will attempt to keep you updated on new insights throughout the semester. You may choose to follow her...


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  • Subject website (forthcoming)
  • Dr. Evelyne de Leeuw
  • e.deleeuwAt