Public Health Policy: General Principles Applied to Local Settings
Full course description
In the first four Prevention & Health modules students have become acquainted with (contemporary challenges within) the field of Public Health. Students have learned about health promotion, health protection and prevention. In this ‘international classroom’ module it will become clear that policy and policy development are very important for creating a good public health as well. Improving public health requires actions and interventions on various levels. This module focuses at the local (municipal, organizational) policy level. What can municipalities do to improve the health of children and citizens living in the municipality? How can they create healthy schools? How can employers make sure that employees stay vital and employable? How can public health professionals convince policy makers, decision makers and politicians that Public Health should be placed on the policy agenda? This is the type of questions which will be answered in this module. The module focuses at Public Health policy, with specific attention for the local policy process (the process in organisations (occupational health), Public Health organisations and local communities). The policy process is defined as the process from agenda setting, policy formulation, policy implementation, to policy evaluation and assurance. There will be a strong link between theory, application of this theory and practice. During the module many practical examples from the field of public health policy will be addressed and a field visit will be organized. Students are taught different theoretical approaches to agenda setting and policy which will directly be linked to specific tools to improve and manage a specific policy process. Additionally, the module covers knowledge on the different contextual aspects of the policy process, such as national and international legislation, structure and organisation of Public Health, normative beliefs, and the influence of state, market and civil society on public health.
Students will apply the knowledge they acquire during the lectures, E-lectures and discussion of the PBL cases immediately in a group paper they will write during this module. This group paper will consist of three chapters, each linked to a training (parts 1 to 3 of the Training Practicing policy skills for local public health contexts; parts 4 and 5 of this training focus on the more practical skills such as cooperation, negotiation, writing, and MT&S, and are described under module PGZ2225, which is linked to this module). The chapters of the group paper will cover the following topics, respectively: Mapping the public health systems and public health stakeholders in Europe; Policy analysis according to the rational and the political approach; Transferability of interventions: dare to compare.
The formal objectives of this module are listed below:
With respect to knowledge and insight, students acquire knowledge about:
- the macro system: the organisation of Public Health (in the Netherlands and internationally), Public Health policy actors, administration/public management, different types of welfare states in relation to Public Health, Health in all Policies;
- general definitions of policy and policy processes;
- the dynamics of policy as explained by different theoretical approaches; -
- project management;
- policy tools;
- policy evaluation, including responsive evaluation and economic evaluation;
- principles and effective methods of negotiation;
- leadership in Public Health (effective leadership and styles of leadership).
With respect to application of knowledge and insight, students are able to:
- assess the macro and policy context of a certain Public Health problem to improve the effectiveness of Public Health policies;
- apply the different theoretical policy approaches to a specific policy problem in order to understand this problem and improve the effectiveness of policies;
- apply the knowledge about policy evaluation in a research proposal for the evaluation of a certain Public Health policy;
- recognize styles of leadership and leadership principles, as well as to reflect on their own leadership competences.
With respect to forming opinions, students can:
- judge the effectiveness of Public Health policies (and make international comparisons of policies);
- compare different theoretical approaches in how they explain bottlenecks in the policy process;
- critically read scientific papers and Public Health policy reports.
- Guest, C., Ricciardi, W, Kawachi, I & Lang, I. (Eds). (2013) Oxford Handbook of Public Health Practice (3rd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. (E-book)
- Buse, K., Mays, N., Walt, G. (2012). Making health policy (2nd ed.). Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Education. (E-book)
- Scott, W.R. (2008). Institutions and organizations (3rd ed.) Thousand Oaks, CA.: Sage. (SL HM 131.1, 2nd edition from 2001; chapter to be used in this module has not been changed)
- Stone, D.A. (2002) Policy paradox, the art of political decision-making. New York/London: Norton & Company. (SL JF 1525.D4)
- Detels, R., M., Karim, F. Baum, L. Li and A. Leyland (Eds.) (2021). Oxford Textbook of Global Public Health, 7th edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (E-book)