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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

Writing a Good Policy

Geraldine S. Perry, DrPH, RD

Member of The Science Board

Governing Council

Food and Nutrition Section

American Pubic Health Association

  • To identify the basic characteristics of a good policy
  • To outline the key components of a well written policy
basic characteristics of good policy
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
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
basic components5
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
basic components6
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
basic components7
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.
basic components8
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
basic components9
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
basic components10
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)
basic components11
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.

basic components12
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.

further information
Further Information
  • For further information, please contact the APHA Government Relations Office
  • 202-777-2514