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NUR 459 - Introduction to Healthcare Policy and Advocacy

A research starter for health policy resources.

Policy Initiatives

From the World Health Organization:
"Health policy refers to decisions, plans, and actions that are undertaken to achieve specific health care goals within a society. An explicit health policy can achieve several things: it defines a vision for the future which in turn helps to establish targets and points of reference for the short and medium term. It outlines priorities and the expected roles of different groups; and it builds consensus and informs people."

Advantages of working with a Health Institute include:

  • Established system of advocacy
  • They track and research public health policy

Health Institute vs. Health Foundation

  • Research Institutes - endowed for doing research, usually in a specific area
  • Think Tanks - a type of research institute, also known as policy institutes
  • Public Health Institutes - non-profit, can be governmental organizations, focus on organizing public health efforts
  • Academic Health Institutes - associated with a college or university, intended to turn academic research into a guide for health care and health policy, a category of Research Institutes
  • Foundations - a legal categorization of non-profit entities that donate funds and support to other organizations, or provide funding for its own charitable purposes
  • Private Foundations - typically endowed by an individual or family

Think Tanks are institutes that conduct research and advocacy on specific topics, like social policy and health care. Think tanks matter because they influence policy in a variety of ways including testifying before Congress, media appearances, and funded research projects. Visit a think tank's website to get ideas about policy issues on the forefront. You will want to read the "About" section to determine whether a particular Think Tank will be a good resource. Transparency is key. Determine whether the Think Tank discloses:

  • Financial information
  • Funding sources
  • Leadership information
  • Their Annual Report

Look at:

  • Their Mission Statement
  • Who quotes their work
  • The tone and tenor of their site
  • Their focus--political, economic, aid, etc.

When considering items that may become policy initiatives, look to the following resources for ideas:


  • Trends
  • Choose a person, activist, or group that is vocal in an area that interests you

Facebook pages

  • Of policy makers at all levels
  • Of businesses in the industry