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New book Policy Engagement empowers public health professionals to create change

Date: Aug 08 2023

Contact: Media Relations

APHA Press and the de Beaumont Foundation today announced the release of Strategic Skills for Public Health Practice: Policy Engagement, a field guide designed to help public health practitioners engage with policymakers to create healthier, more equitable communities. As part of the acclaimed Strategic Skills for Public Health Practice series, the book provides invaluable insights from national leaders and unpack the political landscape to help public health practitioners become engaged, energized and effective advocates.

“Want a healthier nation? Then public health evidence and expertise must help inform the process,” said book co-author Shelley Hearne, MPH, DrPH. “Policy Engagement demystifies the policymaking process and offers public health professionals the skills and confidence to successfully advocate for better laws, agency rules and norms that allow everyone to thrive.” 

Dr. Hearne, the Deans Sommer and Klag Professor of the Practice in Public Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, authored Policy Engagement with Dr. Keshia Pollack Porter, PhD, Bloomberg Centennial Chair and Professor of Health Policy and Management, and Katrina Forrest, JD, co-executive director of CityHealth.

The book uses examples of crucial public health successes in sanitation, water safety, nutrition, seat belts and workplace safety to illustrate how policy can drive progress. It argues that public health practitioners must understand the context within which policymakers and interest groups perceive facts. 

“Much of the poor health that we see in this country has resulted from policy decisions. This book offers easy-to-understand guidance on how you can engage with policy to positively impact health and advance health equity,” said Pollack Porter.

To create meaningful, positive change, health practitioners need to adapt to uncertain circumstances and identify opportunities for persuasion. 

"Policy is a critical lever to manage and sustain change,” said Forrest. “We wrote this book to fill knowledge gaps and empower public health professionals to zealously advocate for their work and compel action. We want readers to walk away energized, encouraged and equipped with the skills and confidence to engage in this space." 

Offering toolkits of concrete and practical strategies for public health professionals to effectively use policy to address political, social and economic issues, Policy Engagement is an engaging, pragmatic guide for all. From empowering policymakers through education to mobilizing stakeholders and designing impactful public health campaigns, Policy Engagement equips readers with invaluable tools for navigating the intricate world of policymaking.

To learn more about Policy Engagement and the Strategic Skills for Public Health Practice series, visit the APHA Press bookstore at

For a review copy please contact APHA Press.


About the American Public Health Association and APHA Press
The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. We are the only organization that combines a 150-year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Learn more at

About the de Beaumont Foundation
The de Beaumont Foundation creates and invests in bold solutions that improve the health of communities across the country. Its mission is to advance policy, build partnerships, and strengthen public health to create communities where everyone can achieve their best possible health. For more information, visit