Health policy encompasses the decisions, plans, actions (or inactions) undertaken to achieve specific health goals within a society or community. It includes policy made in the public, private, and philanthropic sectors.
Health policy research examines how policies are developed and implemented and how groups and individuals can influence health outcomes. It also examines how a policy or lack of policy may impact a community’s health status.
Formal and Informal
GS-HPC encourages research on both formal policies (e.g.: written documents, rules and guidelines) and informal policy practices (e.g.: how policies are experienced in day to day life) as we seek to understand why and how policies are developed, communicated, implemented, and evaluated, including how researchers and communities influence policymaking.
Health in All Policies
Because our health and well-being are influenced by host of factors within and beyond the health system, GS-HPC takes a “health in all policies” approach. We are interested in all policies that impact the health of Gulf States communities, including transportation, housing, education, tax, and land use policies, among others.
Health policy research has traditionally informed health policy at the national or state level. However, community-based research offers an opportunity to identify and address local health policy questions. By integrally involving community members as part of the research process, community-based research can generate evidence that is both relevant and actionable.
Local policy can address the unique needs of communities and populations in ways that are impossible at the national level. Widespread research efforts to inform local policy may, in the long term, have a significant aggregate effect on improving health in the Gulf States. Collecting data at the neighborhood level also makes it easier for communities to document and rectify local social and environmental conditions that impact health.