University of South Carolina: Arnold School of Public Health

Public Health Policy and Advocacy

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

3-5 minutes


1.50 hours


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This course provides an overview of issues surrounding advocacy and policy development. Specifically, it examines how to apply advocacy and agenda setting principles in public policy making. The course also explains the relevant legislative and regulatory processes. Overall, this course will increase your familiarity with public health policy, interpretation, and public health decision making.

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

Module 1: Public Health Policy

  • Describe the key characteristics of policy and advocacy
  • Describe the difference between “Big P” and”Little p” policy
  • Describe what is meant by “Health in All” policies
  • Describe the role of Evidence-Based Public health in policy development

Module 2: Root Cause Analysis and Identifying Solutions

  •  Use a model to conceptualize all relevant elements of a problem, using: root cause analysis, and conceptual models.·        
  • Identify policy options 
  • Identify governmental processes for policy-making
  • Describe political forces that affect the process of change
  • Consider external stakeholders and community expectations

Module 3: Advocacy

  • Describe a framework for public policy advocacy.
  • Describe the difference between advocacy and lobbying.
  • Describe the process of identifying allies
  • Describe tactics that opponents use in policy-making situations

Module 4: Communicating Your Message

  • Describe traditional methods for developing clear messages for different kinds of stakeholders.
  • Describe barriers to communication
  • Describe the use of digital media in community organizing and policy development
  • Discuss challenges in using digital media for policy development

Competency Terms

Policy Development/Program Planning Skills
Strategic Planning
Policy, Program, & Service Development
Policy, Program, & Service Implementation
External Policies, Programs, & Services
Communication Skills
Community Input
Information Dissemination
Cultural Competency Skills
Cultural Influence on Policies, Programs, & Services
Policy, Program, & Service Impacts
Community Dimensions of Practice Skills
Partner Collaboration
Community Engagement
Public Health Science Skills
Evidence-Based Public Health
Leadership & Systems Thinking Skills

Related Occupations

Public health - multiple occupations will benefit

Related Job Tasks

Communicate effectively to inform and educate people about health, factors that influence it, and how to improve it
Strengthen, support, and mobilize communities and partnerships to improve health
Create, champion, and implement policies, plans, and laws that impact health
Utilize legal and regulatory actions designed to improve and protect the public’s health
Assure an effective system that enables equitable access to the individual services and care needed to be healthy