Public Policy Opportunities In Epidemiology

The level of public health of a nation is a result of the integration of various determinants of health, which fall under such categories as environment, socio-economic status, political environment, occupation, and others. However, since human health is a multifaceted and fluid issue, it is essential to analyze it in the context of a combination of influences. In this regard, the issue of economic status plays an important role in shaping public health status. Indeed, the level of income predetermines such essential health factors as housing, diet, access to education, occupational safety, and other issues that have an inevitable influence on health. Thus, the policies aimed at the improvement of public health should be based on the elimination of obstacles in all spheres of human life affecting health. This post is devoted to the exploration of the ways public policy might change the economic status for better health outcomes of vulnerable populations.

Inequality in socio-economic status is inherently linked to health disparities. People of lower income levels are commonly exposed to poorer housing, food, more difficult and less safe jobs, and worse health outcomes as a result compared to higher income level citizens. Thus, health equity is the goal that policy-makers should achieve through the deliberate integration of economic considerations for better health outcomes. According to Northridge et al. (2003), the quality of the environment, including the family, the neighborhood, or the whole city, has long-term influences on public health. Impoverished neighborhoods are often characterized by insufficient infrastructure and polluted environments, which diminish the residents’ opportunities for healthy living (Northridge et al., 2003). Therefore, it is important to address the environmental issues in the policies aimed at achieving.

However, the process of developing and implementing a public policy is a complicated process. As stated by Brownson et al. (2010), “it is constantly in flux, subject to numerous constraints including multiple aspects, participants, and competing demands that will likely shift priorities on the governmental agenda” (p. 439). Thus, it is essential to gain governmental support by providing evidence for long-term benefits for the state. Such a piece of evidence might be linked to the decrease in expenditures for health care due to the improvement of the overall level of health of the citizens. Many countries, such as the USA and New Zealand, have implemented equity-based public policies that include public healthcare dominance, financial aid for underprivileged populations, and preventative measures for improving the environment (Chin et al., 2018). On a national level, the policies aimed at achieving health equity might incorporate educational aid, employment facilitation, housing subsidizing, and health coverage help for vulnerable populations. Therefore, such an approach to policy-making will allow for addressing economy-related determinants of health in their complexity for better health outcomes.

In summation, the presented discussion has demonstrated that to address health disparities and establish health equity health care professionals and policy-makers should incorporate the socio-economic context with all the determinants of health. It is possible to address health equity issues by implementing national policies for facilitated employment opportunities, access to health, and subsidized housing for vulnerable populations suffering from inequalities. An only multifaceted intersectional approach to public policy-making is capable of changing the social environment in which people live. In such a manner, the exposure to risks and threats will be minimized, and people’s health will be improved.


Brownson, R. C., Chriqui, J. F., Burgeson, C. R., Fisher, M. C., & Ness, R. B. (2010). Translating epidemiology into policy to prevent childhood obesity: The case for promoting physical activity in school settings. Annals of Epidemiology, 20(6), 436-444. doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2010.03.001

Chin, M. H., King, P. T., Jones, R. G., Jones, B., Ameratunga, S. N., Muramatsu, N., & Derrett, S. (2018). Lessons for achieving health equity comparing Aotearoa/New Zealand and the United States. Health Policy, 122(8), 837-853. DOI: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2018.05.001

Northridge, M. E., Sclar, E. D., & Biswas, P. (2003). Sorting out the connections between the built environment and health: A conceptual framework for navigating pathways and planning healthy cities. Journal of Urban Health, 80(4), 556-568. DOI: 10.1093/jurban/jtg064