Office of the Associate Director for Policy at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Introduction to Policy Analysis in Public Health

This is an introductory course offering CPH — Free
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Time to Start

< 3 minutes


1.50 hours


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Public health professionals play an important role in the policy process by conducting policy analysis, communicating findings, developing partnerships, and promoting and implementing evidence-based interventions.

This course will help familiarize you with the role of policy in public health. It will also help to foster a common understanding of what policy is and a process by which it is conceptualized and developed.

The 90-minute course, designed for public health practitioners, introduces the learner to the CDC policy process and provides specific instruction on the policy analysis component of the process. Instructional content will result in the learner having a better understanding of what policy analysis is, its use in proactively assessing policy options under consideration, and how it can contribute to public health’s role in policy. The course is text-based and includes helpful visuals and activities to engage learners.

This learning opportunity topic is aligned with one or more of the strategic skills.

This learning opportunity addresses training topics identified in PHWINS 2017.

What You'll Learn

Overview of Policy and its Role in Public Health

  • Describe CDC’s definition of policy.
  • Describe how policy impacts health and health behaviors.
  • Identify the elements of the policy process.
  • Define policy analysis.

Defining the Problem

  • Identify the problem.
  • Describe the key components of a problem definition.
  • Define the problem and its scope.
  • Identify potential causes of, or contributors to, the problem.
  • Identify stakeholders and their perspectives on the problem.

Identifying Policy Options

  • Explain how to conduct an environmental scan for potential policy options.
  • Identify a range of potential policy options.
  • Select candidate policy options for further analysis.

Assessing Policy Options

  • Describe a systematic approach for evaluating policy options based on desired outcomes.
  • Apply criteria to candidate policy options.

Selecting and Communicating Policy Options

  • Compare and contrast policy options according to criteria.
  • Select viable policy options or a combination of options for the identified demographics.
  • Describe public health’s role in communicating policy options and recommendations.
  • Identify various formats for communicating policy analysis and recommendations.
  • Explain a role for policy analysis in public health.

Related Occupations

Public health - multiple occupations will benefit