Skip to main content

Understanding Public Health Policy

Typically, the main goal of public health policy is to prevent disease and improve peoples’ health.

An example of public health policy includes smoke-free policies, or public-sector regulations and private-sector rules that prohibit smoking in indoor spaces and designated public areas. These were part of evidence-based health policies passed due to the negative effects of second-hand smoke and smoking in general on peoples’ overall health.

Murray State University’s online Master of Public Administration (MPA) with a concentration in Public and Community Health program equips graduates with policy-making and public communication skills to positively impact a community’s health.

The Creation and Impact of Public Health Policy

Before entering this field, public and community health professionals should know about public health problems and the (positive or negative) impacts health policies can have on change.

According to a Public Health Report, “some of the nations’ greatest public health successes would not have been possible without policy change.” Public policies (standard principles that guide courses of action) are established by the government, and many are legally binding. Public health policy can be defined as laws, regulations, plans and actions taken to achieve public health goals.

The four main principles for creating effective public health policy change are:

  1. Use evidence to inform policy
  2. Consider health equity
  3. Design policy with implementation in mind
  4. Use proactive research and policy translation strategies

Public health policies can also have negative consequences. According to a BMC Public Health article, “Public health policies sometimes have unexpected effects. Understanding how policies and interventions lead to outcomes is essential if policymakers and researchers are to intervene effectively and reduce harmful and other unintended consequences (UCs) of their actions.”

When professionals are fully equipped with the knowledge and skills of public health policy, then they can succeed. This begins with the policy coursework your graduate program provides, such as that in Murray State University’s program.

Master of Public Administration Coursework Illuminates Policy Awareness

Murray State University’s online MPA with a concentration in Public and Community Health program prepares graduates to deal with policy issues thanks to courses such as Public Policy Analysis and Health Policy. This program uses such coursework and topics to help graduates understand the importance of policy awareness and the scope of their responsibility in service to the community.

Aspects of policy-making and analysis covered in these courses include:

  • Determining policy objectives
  • Evaluating their outcomes and functions
  • Justification for policy decisions
  • How politics and analysis shape policy
  • Who contributes to policy creation
  • Who is impacted

Students also have the opportunity to integrate theories and methods by proposing and executing a project involving a substantive management or analytic issue in the public sector as part of a capstone course.

Advance Your Public Health Administration Career

One way to advance positive change in public and community health is to have knowledge and skills surrounding public health policy. An online MPA with a concentration in Public and Community Health equips you with policy-making skills while giving you the flexibility to earn your degree on your own time (in as few as 12 months).

This 100% online program will prepare you for the following impactful careers:

  • Human resource administrator
  • Healthcare administrator or manager
  • Community health educator
  • Public health director
  • Health policy analyst

Graduates of an advanced public administration degree with a public and community health focus will have the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in the public health space in a number of roles.

Learn more about Murray State University’s online Master of Public Administration (MPA) with a concentration in Public and Community Health program

Related Articles

Our Commitment to Content Publishing Accuracy

Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only. The nature of the information in all of the articles is intended to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered.

The information contained within this site has been sourced and presented with reasonable care. If there are errors, please contact us by completing the form below.

Timeliness: Note that most articles published on this website remain on the website indefinitely. Only those articles that have been published within the most recent months may be considered timely. We do not remove articles regardless of the date of publication, as many, but not all, of our earlier articles may still have important relevance to some of our visitors. Use appropriate caution in acting on the information of any article.

Report inaccurate article content: