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Writing a Good Policy. Geraldine S. Perry, DrPH, RD Member of The Science Board Governing Council Food and Nutrition Section American Pubic Health Association. Purpose. To identify the basic characteristics of a good policy To outline the key components of a well written policy.

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Writing a good policy l.jpg

Writing a Good Policy

Geraldine S. Perry, DrPH, RD

Member of The Science Board

Governing Council

Food and Nutrition Section

American Pubic Health Association

Purpose l.jpg

  • To identify the basic characteristics of a good policy

  • To outline the key components of a well written policy

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Basic Characteristics of Good Policy

  • Useful

    • No APHA policy on the issue

    • An update of existing policy

  • Not narrowly written

    • Not developed to address a specific time-sensitive issue

    • Should be comprehensive

  • Timely

  • Well written

    • Clear, concise, succinct

Basic components l.jpg
Basic Components

  • Title

    • State the Public Health Problem

    • Type of strategy will address

    • Should not cite a specific year

    • < 70 characters

  • Key Words

    • 3-5 words that can be used to search the subject matter

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Basic Components

  • Over-riding concern

    • Identify the single over riding objective (SOCO)

      • Ex. 1: Development of programs for obesity prevention

      • Ex. 2: Increased efforts to reduce the level of trans fat in the food supply

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Basic Components

  • Relationship to existing APHA policy

    • Existing APHA policies related to this topic

      • Ex. 1 – Policies on obesity

      • Ex. 2 - Policies on trans fat, high fat content of food, Dietary Guidelines

    • List the policy number (s) in the introduction section of the policy

      • APHA supports the Dietary Guidelines which suggest that trans fat should be reduced in the diet (Policy #)

      • Current policies listed on the APHA website

    • Does this policy update or replace current policy

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Basic Components

  • Problem Statement

    • Public health problem

      • Clear succinct statement

      • Burden of the problem

      • Should be well referenced

        • Numbered

      • Scientific

      • Political

      • Ethical

    • Include any opposing issue

      • Ex: Trans fats have been shown to be related to heart disease. Other studies have not supported this relationship.

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Basic Components

  • Proposed Recommendations

    • Strategy (ies) proposed

      • should give evidence that the strategy has worked; list references

        • Reducing trans fats in the food supply will reduce mortality rates

      • Alternative strategies

        • Strategy tried or proposed

        • Give evidence to support the effectiveness of the suggested strategy

        • List references in appropriate format

        • Counter points on whether proposed strategy works

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Basic Components

  • Action Steps

    • Must be externally directed

      • APHA urges CDC to organize an expert panel on the feasibility of reducing trans fats in processed foods

    • Must be feasible

    • Must be culturally appropriate

    • No action should be listed in this section for which supporting evidence has not been presented in the strategy section or in the problem statement section

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Basic Components

  • References

    • Listed in order of occurrence in the body of the:

      • Introduction (APHA policies should also be referenced)

      • Problem statement

      • Strategy section

    • Peer-reviewed

      • Try not to use personal correspondences

    • Primary sources

      • Could use a good review article

    • Most recent references related to issue

    • Format used in AJPH (AMA Style)

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Basic Components

  • References

    • Examples of correct format

    • Aro A. Epidemiology of trans fatty

      acids and coronary heart disease in Europe. Nutr Metab Cardivasc Dis 1998;8:402-407

      2. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA), Dietary Guidelines for Americans, January 12, 2005.

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Basic Components

  • References

    • Examples of correct format

      3. Nutrition Subcommittee of the Food Advisory Committee, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), Food and Drug Administration (FSA) Summary Minutes, April 27-28, 2004, http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/ac/04/minutes/2004-4035m1-summary.pdf, accessed on 11-3-2006.

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Further Information

  • For further information, please contact the APHA Government Relations Office

  • 202-777-2514