October 1, 2013 - A new guide released today offers practical strategies for improving the public’s health by incorporating health considerations into decision-making across sectors and policy areas. Written by public health practitioners, “Health in All Policies: A Guide for State and Local Governments” was developed in collaboration with the American Public Health Association, the Public Health Institute and the California Department of Public Health.
The “health in all policies” framework requires collaboration between various sectors to promote health, equity and sustainability, and simultaneously advance other goals such as promoting job creation and economic stability, transportation access and mobility, a strong agricultural system and educational attainment.
“Improving the public’s health through policy development often falls to non-traditional health partners and this guide emphasizes the importance of collaboration between these partners and public health agencies and organizations,” said Georges Benjamin, MD, executive director of APHA. “To ensure that health is a top priority in education, nutrition, transportation and other policies, this guide will be of great value as the implementation of ‘health in all policies’ expands to transform the practice of public health for the benefit of all.”
The goal of “Health in all Policies” is to ensure decision-makers are informed about the health, equity and sustainability consequences of various policy options during the policy development process. The guide was produced in response to growing interest in using collaborative approaches to improve population health by embedding health considerations into decision making processes across a broad array of sectors. It draws heavily on the experiences of the California Health in All Policies Task Force and incorporates information from published literature and interviews with individuals across the country.
“Health in all policies is a cutting edge approach to government accountability and effectiveness, and represents a new lens for evaluating and aligning priorities across sectors. Health in all policies brings everyone’s best to the table, and that’s what it will take to tackle huge problems like chronic disease, climate change and growing social and health inequalities.” said Mary A. Pittman, CEO and President of the Public Health Institute.
Resources in the guide include strategies for achieving good health and sustainability across the community and tips for engaging stakeholders, building relationships and making joint decisions across community sectors. The report also includes guidance on message development around the “health in all policies” concept as well as examples of co-benefits that can be attained through strong public health policy.
A four-page brief and the full guide are available for download on APHA’s website. In addition, a webinar, on Oct. 2 at 2 p.m. EST, will discuss why health in all policies is important and how organizations can successfully talk about health in all policies when implementing its framework into their efforts.