Health Policy Issue Brief Topics For Essays

non-partisan resource for health research and policy. Look under “publications” for reports, briefs, and case studies on a variety of health policy topics.

dedicated to extending health coverage to all Americans. Claims to present unbiased information to enable the reader to understand the roots of the nation's health care problems. Features briefings on many health issues, easily browsed by topic.

a national association of health plans, AHIP supports initiatives empowering consumers. Offers reports, briefs and news items pertaining to health insurance.

organization of people age 50 and over dedicated to enhancing quality of life. Presents research and information on healthcare issues pertaining to aging, under topics such as health and wellness, or long term care.

searchable database of APHA policy statements from 1948 to the present.

 provides evidence-based, peer-reviewed policy guidance and resources to support advocacy and decision-making at state and local levels. Search or browse over 150 policy topics.

an organization working at the federal and state level on fiscal policy and public programs that affect low and moderate-income families and individuals. It conducts research and analysis to inform public debates over proposed budget and tax policies and offers reports, articles and statistics.
 a private foundation that promotes better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency of the national health care system, particularly for low-income people and the uninsured by supporting independent research on health care issues. Features articles, news, charts and statistics. Washington Health Policy Week in Review is a regular feature.

 nonpartisan information exchange meant to foster informed government decision making. Offers briefs, background papers and primers.

 features numerous reports and a searchable archive. A Blog Watch is published on Tuesdays and Fridays. Health Policy Picks a monthly selection of recent publications, such as technical reports, conference proceedings, and other material produced by organizations and government agencies that conduct health care policy analysis and research.

 engages in nonpartisan analysis and research on significant issues in health policy. Features reports and selected articles from the Milbank Quarterly.

“an independent academy of state health policymakers working together to identify emerging issues, develop policy solutions, and improve state health policy and practice.” Features publications and news items.

 although this organization was formed to help develop health policy, the site offers only a few articles.

New York Academy of Medicine: Grey Literature Report a bimonthly publication alerting readers to new grey literature publications in health services research and selected public health topics.

a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decision making through research and analysis. Browse by category or search by keyword to locate health related briefs and reports.

  analyzes policies, conducts research and evaluates programs. Features a number of reports and articles.

The UNAI program promotes the role of higher education in economic and social development.  Participating colleges, like NYMC, create and share knowledge to help realize UN objectives and goals. Those with a Facebook account can read about ongoing initiatives and participate in discussions.

  links to reports and programs concerning global health policy.


 “CGD is an independent, not-for-profit think tank that works to reduce global poverty and inequality by encouraging policy change in the U.S. and other rich countries through rigorous research and active engagement with the policy community.”

“A forum to identify, discuss, confront, and propose solutions to complex non-profit healthcare issues.”

 ongoing dialogue on health policy issues form the publishers of the journal, Health Affairs.

Healthcare Inform: the NYMC health policy blog.

 opinions about public health issues and strategies led by author, Maggie Mahar.

David E. Williams discusses business issues in health care.

  popular blog about the health care system.

“Joseph Paduda's weblog on managed care for group health, workers compensation & auto insurance, covering health care cost containment, health policy, health research, and medical news.”

 discussion of health care “cost, coverage and quality” sponsored by the New America Foundation.


Guides to Policy Writing:
 although this book was written to aid policy advisors in Central and Eastern Europe, it is a good, easy to read guide that explains the whole process of planning, writing and publishing a policy paper (with little reference to Central and Eastern Europe).
 a short paper that examines the nature of policy and the steps in the policy process. a brief outline on policy writing in health care organizations with an emphasis on the role of the ethics committee.


Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Commerce Department, Economic Analysis
Congressional Budget Office
Department of Health & Human Services
Department of Labor
Health Resources and Services Administration
Medicare Payment Advisory Commission
National Institutes of Health
The Office of Rural Health Policy (DHHS)
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (DHHS)
Office of Inspector General (DHHS)
Office of Management and Budget


American Journal of Public Health
Health Affairs
Health Care Financing Review
Health Care Management Review
Health Economics
Health Policy
Health Policy and Planning
HSR Health Services Research
Inquiry
International Journal of Health Services
JAMA Journal of the American Medical Association
The Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement
Journal of Health Economics
Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law
Journal of Public Health Policy
Medical Care
Medical Care Research and Review
The Milbank Quarterly
The New England Journal of Medicine
Social Science and Medicine

Short policy briefs are useful tools for conveying the implications of scientific evidence for policy and practice. Writing effective policy briefs (and issue or research briefs) requires a specific set of communication skills.

This distance education module is intended to help public health students and practicing professionals to:

- Understand the basic elements of a policy brief
- Identify the information needs of different audiences
- Synthesize data to convey policy implications
- Craft concise language
- Organize information effectively

The module offers an introductory lecture, examples of the skills in action, and hands-on activities. Structured exercises will guide you through the process of writing your own policy brief.

A.Video Lecture: The Art and Craft of Policy Briefs
Start with this 20-minute lecture for a brief introduction to policy briefs, beginning with an explanation of what a policy brief is (and isn’t). This lecture addresses organizing a policy brief, understanding the audience, and communicating effectively with text and graphics.
Play lecture

B.Transforming a Not-So-Good Policy Brief Into a Better Policy Brief
An example of a poorly-written policy brief, along with a rewritten version for comparison. Each version is followed by a set of comments highlighting some of the problems with the original draft and their solutions in the edited draft.

A Not-So-Good Policy Brief (PDF 115KB)

A Better Policy Brief (PDF 129KB)


C.Exercise: Translating a Research Article into a Policy Brief
Using the article “Maternal Depressive Symptoms and Children’s Receipt of Health Care in the First 3 Years of Life," answer a set of questions and then use a template to identify the main elements of a policy brief.
PDF 51KB

D.Exercise: Beginning Your Policy Brief
A set of questions to begin thinking about the purpose, audience, and background for a policy brief.
PDF 35KB

E.Exercise: Outlining Policy Brief Content
A set of questions to draft the framework and basic content of a policy brief.
PDF 35KB

F.Policy Brief Checklist
A checklist for critiquing your own or another author’s policy brief.
PDF 52KB

G.Resources
Links to a few excellent resources on writing and presenting data.

Download this information as a PDF

Resources on Writing

The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL)
See especially:

  1. Revision in Business Writing
  2. Revising for Conciseness and Clarity
  3. Audience Analysis
  4. Eliminating Wordiness

The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation

In particular, the essays by Tony Proscio about jargon and effective communication:

  1. In Other Words: A Plea for Plain Speaking in Foundations
  2. Bad Words for Good: How Foundations Garble Their Message and Lose Their Audience
  3. When Words Fail: How the Public Interest Becomes Neither Public Nor Interesting

Resources on Communication with Data:

Anything by Stephen Few of Perceptual Edge

See especially:

  1. The library section of the website
  2. Designing Effective Tables and Graphs
  3. Examples of poorly-designed graphs with comments on the problems and suggested solutions

The Gallery of Data Visualization: The Best and Worst of Statistical Graphics

Making Data Meaningful by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

Using Graphics to Report Evaluation Results, by Ed Minter and Mary Michaud, Program Development & Evaluation, University of Wisconsin-Extension, 2003.

*Links active as of December 2012

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