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What is Policy? What is the Policy-Making Process?

A collage that represents policy and advocacyIt is important for MCH leaders to possess policy skills, particularly in changing and competitive economic and political environments. MCH leaders understand the resources necessary to improve health and well-being for children, youth, families, and communities, and the need to be able to articulate and educate for those needs in the context of policy development and implementation.

MCH leaders should have a firm understanding of the policy process, because they often must defend and educate on MCH resources in competitive economic and political environments. However, data from the MCH Navigator online self-assessment shows that professionals' understanding of the knowledge and skills that are necessary to incorporate policy into daily work are consistently lacking.

Arden HandlerThis learning opportunity is a lecture from a course developed and presented by Arden Handler, DrPH, Professor, Community Health Sciences, Director, Center of Excellence in MCH and Co-Director, MCH Epidemiology Training Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In the presentation, she outlines the terminology used in public policy and the types of public policy as they are practiced; the process and paradigms of making public policy, including the legislative process; and the role of economics in the policy-making process. She rounds off this lecture with an analysis of the most common public policy instruments.

Scroll down to access the 5 focused learning sessions of Dr. Handler's presentation followed by additional learning opportunities from the MCH Navigator and supplemental resources from the National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health (NCEMCH) to put knowledge into practice.

Focused Learning

Click below to watch highlights from the session and access additional learning opportunities that support Dr. Handler's discussion.

Dr. Handler presents an overview of policy, including several definities and the types of public policy that one encounters in MCH.

Dr. Handler presents key paradigms of the public policy process and the steps involved in each.

Dr. Handler focuses on the legislative process in educating on public policy and pushing for its implementation.

This segment describes how economics affects how public policy is conceived and implemented.

Dr. Handler concludes the lecture by describing specific tools and protocols to advance policy at all stages, from conception to implementation to measurement.

Additional Learning from the MCH Navigator

These training are drawn from the Navigator's course catalog and are organized by the knowledge and skill sets that define Competency 12: Policy.

Knowledge-Based Trainings

Skills-Based Trainings




Supplemental Resources from NCEMCH

NCEMCHThis brief list of resources from the National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health (NCEMCH) presents an overview of MCH policy.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UE8MC25742; MCH Navigator for $225,000/year. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.