Describe the public health issue. Include the following information
The purpose of this assignment is to discuss the impact of an environmental public health issue and make recommendations for policy change.
Research public health issues located on the American Public Health Association (APHA) website, found in the topic Resources. Select a public health issue related to an environmental issue within the U.S. health care delivery system and examine its effect on a specific population.
Based on the public health issue selected, in 750-1,000 words address the following:
- Describe the public health issue. Include the following information: (a) what population is affected, (b) at what level does it occur (local, state, or national), and (c) evidence about the issue supported by resources.
- Discuss how the public health issue is addressed by the current policies.
- Include what changes you would propose to the existing policies. Describe what steps are required to initiate policy change.
- Identify the necessary stakeholders required to initiate policy change (government officials, administrator) and explain the importance of their role, such as budgeting or funding.
- Discuss the impact on the health care delivery system.
Include three peer-reviewed sources and two other sources to support the policy brief.
Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center.
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Expert Answer and Explanation
Healthcare Environmental Policy Issue Brief
The Policy Health Issue
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EAP) is a body given responsibility to create public health policies that protect Americans from unhealthy environmental pollutions and changes. The institution is also responsible for ensuring that communities around the US are clean and safe. However, EAP has failed to protect Americans from environmental harm.
The institution has changed air quality standards, and this has made American children vulnerable to asthma. According to Hasaneen and El-Halwagi (2017), the EAP has changed several policies and thus, allowing manufacturing companies to release soot and smog-forming pollutants in the air. Some of these firms include power plants, industrial facilities, and oil and gas extraction.
The system has allowed manufacturing companies to release toxic contaminants such as lead, arsenic, and mercury into the air. The policy issue has affected most people in the Black, Asia, and Latino American communities. The change of the Clean Air Act has affected people across the United States. This paper recommends steps that can be taken to reduce the effects of emitted toxic pollutants into the air.
The pollutant allowed into the air as a result of changed Clean Air Act has adverse effects on people. Witten (2016) reports that the impurities can affect a person’s cardiac health by hardening the heart’s blood vessels and thus, increasing the risks of heart failure, stroke, and attacks. Also, the pollutants are linked with certain psychological conditions such as schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Further, contaminants such as arsenic and mercury are linked with respiratory conditions such as lung cancer, emphysema, as well as bronchitis. According to DeSalvo et al. (2016), pollutants can also cause asthma in children.
Also, the toxins may damage children’s brain and thus, affecting their cognitive development. Lead and mercury toxins also cause pneumonia in children. According to Wysokińska (2016), about one million children aged five years and below lose their lives every year from pneumonia caused by air pollution. DeSalvo et al. (2016) argue that this is evident because compared to adults, children spend more time outside.
Moreover, air pollution caused by lead, mercury, and arsenic has been associated with miscarriages during pregnancies. Toxins have also led to autism spectrum condition in children and premature birth. Lastly, according to Wysokińska (2016), the pollutants might reduce a person’s immune system and thus, making him or her susceptible to other diseases.
Solution to the Issue
Every American must do their best to ensure that they live in clean and safe air as far as their health is concerned. Oil and gas and coal industry are the largest emitters of toxic gases into the air. Therefore, the United States government should work on replacing oil, gas, and coal with less polluting fuels such as solar power, wind, fusion nuclear energy, and natural gas. DeSalvo et al. (2016) argue that this can be done by creating a body to regulate and conduct researches on green energy.
The stakeholders that must be included in forming the body are the general public, the congress, and the executive. After the formation of the body, the government should avail finances for so that it can start working on researches about solar power, wind, fusion nuclear energy, and natural gas. Wysokińska (2016) estimates that replacing half of the coal, oil and gas energy might cost the US taxpayers about $180 billion.
Another way of mitigating air pollution is by enacting laws that ensure that the EAP is an independent body. According to Evans (2017), this can be done by tabling a bill in parliament which protects the EAP from external influence, including the executive branch and allowing it to make policies that ensure clean and safe air.
The Impact of the Issue on the Health Care Delivery System
Healthcare industry is one of the disciplines which will benefit when the above policies are implemented. Today, the government of the US spends billions of dollars to solve environmental health problems. However, if the policy issue is addressed, sectors such as healthcare entirely will receive more funding from the government. The funds can be used to improve the healthcare delivery system by offering scholarships to more youths who want to become nurses.
The health sector may also use the funds to employ more nurses in the healthcare facilities across the United States. Moreover, the funds can be used to increase hospital equipment and beds. Wysokińska (2016) argues that by solving the public environmental health problem, the government can now focus on funding health researches which aim and improving patient care and delivery system in the US medical industry.
In conclusion, the changes in the Clean Air Act by the EAP have put the American lives in danger. The EAP has changed air quality standards, thereby allowing industries to release toxic substances which can cause many physiological and mental problems. However, the government can solve the issue by supporting researches that aim to change the country energy industry to green energy. If the policy is implemented, the healthcare field will receive more funding to improve its delivery system.
DeSalvo, K. B., O’Carroll, P. W., Koo, D., Auerbach, J. M., & Monroe, J. A. (2016). Public health 3.0: time for an upgrade. American journal of public health, 106(4), 621.
Evans, M. (2017). Policy transfer in global perspective. Routledge.
Hasaneen, R., & El-Halwagi, M. M. (2017). Using integrated process and microeconomic analyses to enable effective environmental policy for shale gas in the USA. Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy, 19(6), 1775-1789.
Witten, K. (2016). Geographies of obesity: environmental understandings of the obesity epidemic. Routledge.
Wysokińska, Z. (2016). The “new” environmental policy of the European Union: A path to development of a circular economy and mitigation of the negative effects of climate change. Comparative Economic Research, 19(2), 57-73.
Topics About Health/Topics About Public Health/ Topics In Public Health
1. The Importance of Regular Exercise
Regular exercise offers numerous benefits for both physical and mental health. This section explores the importance of incorporating exercise into your daily routine, discussing its impact on weight management, cardiovascular health, stress reduction, and overall well-being.
2. Balanced Diet: Nourishing Your Body
A balanced diet plays a vital role in maintaining good health. This section provides insights into the key components of a healthy diet, including macronutrients and micronutrients. It also highlights the significance of portion control, meal planning, and mindful eating.
3. Mental Health and Well-being
Mental health is as important as physical health. This section delves into various aspects of mental well-being, including stress management, anxiety reduction, building resilience, and seeking professional help when needed.
4. Sleep: The Foundation of Good Health
A good night’s sleep is essential for optimal health. This section explores the importance of sleep, offers tips for improving sleep quality, and discusses the consequences of sleep deprivation on physical and mental well-being.
5. Stress Management Techniques
Stress has become a common part of modern life. This section provides practical techniques and strategies for managing stress effectively, such as mindfulness exercises, relaxation techniques, and finding healthy outlets for stress relief.
6. Benefits of Yoga and Meditation
Yoga and meditation have been practiced for centuries and are known for their numerous health benefits. This section explores the advantages of incorporating yoga and meditation into your daily routine, including stress reduction, increased flexibility, improved focus, and overall well-being.
7. Preventive Healthcare: Importance of Regular Check-ups
Prevention is better than cure. Regular check-ups and screenings can help identify potential health issues before they become severe. This section emphasizes the significance of preventive healthcare and encourages readers to prioritize regular visits to healthcare professionals.
8. The Role of Vitamins and Minerals in Our Health
Vitamins and minerals are essential for proper bodily functions. This section provides an overview of various vitamins and minerals, their roles in maintaining good health, and dietary sources to ensure an adequate intake.
9. The Impact of Stress on Physical Health
Chronic stress can have detrimental effects on physical health. This section examines the relationship between stress and various health conditions, including cardiovascular diseases, digestive disorders, and weakened immune system.
10. Healthy Aging: Tips for a Fulfilling Life
Aging is a natural process, and adopting healthy habits can make it more fulfilling. This section offers practical tips for healthy aging, including staying active, maintaining social connections, and prioritizing self-care.
11. Effective Ways to Manage Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for overall health and well-being. This section discusses effective strategies for weight management, including a combination of balanced diet, regular exercise, portion control, and mindful eating.
12. Understanding and Dealing with Common Health Conditions
Many individuals face common health conditions. This section provides insights into understanding and managing conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, allergies, and respiratory disorders, offering tips for coping with these challenges.
13. Building a Strong Immune System
A robust immune system is vital for warding off illnesses and maintaining good health. This section explores ways to strengthen the immune system through proper nutrition, regular exercise, stress management, and adequate sleep.
14. The Power of Positive Thinking
Positive thinking can have a profound impact on health and well-being. This section highlights the benefits of cultivating a positive mindset, practicing gratitude, and adopting optimistic approaches to life’s challenges.
15. Holistic Approaches to Health and Wellness
Holistic health focuses on the integration of the mind, body, and spirit. This section explores various holistic approaches to health and wellness, including acupuncture, herbal remedies, Ayurveda, and energy healing.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
1. How often should I exercise to maintain good health? Regular exercise is recommended for most individuals, aiming for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week. However, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine a suitable exercise routine based on your specific needs.
2. Can a balanced diet alone provide all the necessary nutrients? While a balanced diet forms the foundation of good nutrition, certain individuals may require supplements to meet their specific nutrient needs. Consulting a healthcare professional or registered dietitian can help determine if supplementation is necessary.
3. What are some effective stress management techniques? Effective stress management techniques include regular exercise, mindfulness practices, deep breathing exercises, journaling, engaging in hobbies, and seeking social support. Experiment with different techniques to find what works best for you.
4. How can I improve my sleep quality? To improve sleep quality, establish a consistent sleep schedule, create a relaxing bedtime routine, ensure a comfortable sleep environment, limit exposure to electronic devices before bed, and avoid caffeine and stimulating activities close to bedtime.
5. What are some natural ways to boost the immune system? Natural ways to boost the immune system include consuming a nutritious diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, getting regular exercise, managing stress, prioritizing sleep, staying hydrated, and practicing good hygiene.
What is a public health issue?
A public health issue is a problem or condition that affects the health, safety, and well-being of a population or community as a whole, rather than just individual individuals. These issues are often characterized by their widespread impact and their potential to lead to negative health outcomes on a larger scale. Public health issues can encompass a wide range of topics, including infectious diseases, chronic illnesses, environmental hazards, social determinants of health, and healthcare disparities. Here are some key characteristics of public health issues:
- Population Impact: Public health issues affect a significant portion of a population or community, potentially leading to widespread health problems. They are not limited to isolated cases or individual health concerns.
- Preventability: Many public health issues are preventable through public health interventions, such as vaccination campaigns, health education, policy changes, and environmental regulations. Preventing these issues can lead to improved health outcomes for the population.
- Social Determinants: Public health issues often stem from social, economic, and environmental factors. Issues like poverty, access to healthcare, education, housing, and employment can contribute to health disparities and public health challenges.
- Health Inequities: Public health issues can disproportionately affect certain population groups, leading to health inequities. These disparities may be based on factors like race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, or geographic location.
- Surveillance and Data: Public health professionals use surveillance systems and data collection to monitor the prevalence, trends, and impacts of these issues. This information guides public health policies and interventions.
- Interdisciplinary Approach: Addressing public health issues often requires collaboration among various sectors, including healthcare, government, education, social services, and community organizations. An interdisciplinary approach is crucial for effective solutions.
- Global Impact: While some public health issues are local or regional, others have global significance. Diseases like COVID-19, for example, have demonstrated how interconnected the world is in terms of public health challenges.
What are examples of health problems that might affect an entire population?
Health problems that can affect an entire population, often referred to as public health issues, can vary widely in nature and impact. These problems have the potential to influence the health and well-being of a large number of individuals within a community or even across a nation. Here are several examples of health problems that might affect an entire population:
- Infectious Disease Outbreaks: Infectious diseases such as influenza, COVID-19, measles, and tuberculosis have the potential to rapidly spread within a population, leading to epidemics or pandemics. These diseases can affect people of all ages and backgrounds.
- Obesity and Overweight: The prevalence of obesity and overweight individuals has been steadily increasing in many countries. These conditions can lead to a wide range of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer, and can affect large segments of the population.
- Air Pollution: Poor air quality due to pollutants like fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and ground-level ozone can affect entire urban populations, leading to respiratory issues, cardiovascular problems, and other health concerns.
- Tobacco Use: Tobacco use, including smoking and smokeless tobacco products, remains a significant public health issue. It can lead to a range of diseases, including lung cancer, heart disease, and respiratory disorders, impacting populations across age groups.
- Mental Health Disorders: Mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse, can affect a large portion of the population. These conditions can have profound effects on individuals and their families.
- Access to Healthcare: Limited access to healthcare services, including medical care, dental care, and mental health services, can affect the entire population, particularly underserved or vulnerable communities.
- Malnutrition: Both undernutrition (insufficient food and nutrients) and overnutrition (excessive calorie intake, often with poor nutritional quality) can impact a population’s health. Malnutrition can lead to various health problems, including stunted growth in children and nutritional deficiencies.
- Environmental Contamination: Contaminants in the environment, such as lead in drinking water or hazardous waste exposure, can pose health risks to entire communities and neighborhoods.
- Vaccine Hesitancy: Vaccine hesitancy and refusal can result in outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, impacting the overall health of the population. This issue has gained significant attention during recent measles and COVID-19 outbreaks.
- Natural Disasters: Natural disasters, like hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires, can lead to injuries, mental health issues, and disruptions in healthcare access for entire regions or populations.
- Healthcare Disparities: Disparities in healthcare access and quality can affect different segments of the population disproportionately, leading to variations in health outcomes.
What are the 3 P’s of public health?
The “3 P’s” of public health are often used as a simple mnemonic to highlight three key principles or components of public health practice. These principles help guide public health professionals in their efforts to protect and improve the health of communities and populations. The 3 P’s stand for:
- Prevention: Prevention is a fundamental pillar of public health. It involves taking proactive measures to prevent diseases, injuries, and health problems from occurring in the first place. This can include health promotion activities, vaccination campaigns, education on healthy behaviors, and interventions to reduce risk factors.
- Protection: Protection in public health refers to measures taken to safeguard the health and safety of communities and populations. This can involve regulations, policies, and interventions designed to protect individuals from health threats, such as environmental hazards, infectious diseases, unsafe food, and other risks.
- Promotion: Promotion focuses on promoting and improving overall health and well-being. This includes efforts to enhance the quality of life, encourage healthy behaviors, and create environments that support health. Health promotion activities aim to empower individuals and communities to make healthier choices and adopt healthier lifestyles.
These 3 P’s serve as a framework for public health practice, emphasizing the importance of preventing health problems, protecting communities from health risks, and promoting positive health outcomes. Public health professionals work within these principles to develop strategies, policies, and interventions that address a wide range of health issues, from chronic diseases to infectious diseases to environmental health concerns.
How can we solve public health problems?
Solving public health problems requires a multi-faceted and collaborative approach involving individuals, communities, healthcare professionals, policymakers, and public health organizations. Here are key strategies and steps to address and solve public health problems:
- Data Collection and Surveillance:
- Collect comprehensive data on the specific public health problem, including its prevalence, risk factors, and affected populations.
- Establish surveillance systems to monitor trends and outbreaks, allowing for timely responses.
- Research and Evidence-Based Practice:
- Conduct research to understand the causes and determinants of the problem.
- Identify evidence-based interventions and best practices for prevention, treatment, and management.
- Education and Awareness:
- Raise public awareness about the problem, its consequences, and preventive measures through health education campaigns.
- Educate healthcare providers about the latest guidelines and best practices.
- Implement preventive measures such as vaccination, health screenings, and lifestyle modifications to reduce risk factors.
- Promote healthy behaviors and practices within communities.
- Access to Healthcare:
- Ensure equitable access to healthcare services, including preventive care, diagnostics, and treatment.
- Address barriers to healthcare access, such as affordability and geographic disparities.
- Policy and Regulation:
- Advocate for and implement policies and regulations that address the problem. This may include laws related to tobacco control, food safety, or environmental protection.
- Enforce existing regulations and monitor compliance.
- Community Engagement:
- Engage communities and involve them in the development and implementation of public health programs.
- Leverage community resources and knowledge to address local health issues.
- Interdisciplinary Collaboration:
- Collaborate across healthcare sectors, government agencies, community organizations, and academia.
- Work with various stakeholders to pool resources and expertise.
- Global Cooperation:
- Recognize that many public health problems are global in nature. Collaborate with international organizations and governments to address issues like infectious disease outbreaks and climate change.
- Health Equity and Social Determinants:
- Address social determinants of health, such as income inequality, education, and housing, which contribute to health disparities.
- Implement policies that promote health equity and reduce disparities.
- Emergency Preparedness:
- Develop and regularly update emergency response plans to address public health crises and disasters.
- Ensure readiness to mobilize resources and personnel in times of need.
- Advocacy and Funding:
- Advocate for increased funding for public health initiatives and research.
- Raise awareness among policymakers and the public about the importance of addressing public health problems.
- Evaluation and Continuous Improvement:
- Evaluate the effectiveness of interventions and programs through monitoring and assessment.
- Adapt strategies based on feedback and evolving circumstances.
Solving public health problems is an ongoing and dynamic process that requires a commitment to evidence-based practices, collaboration, and a focus on both prevention and treatment. Public health professionals play a crucial role in coordinating efforts and working with communities to improve overall health outcomes and well-being.
Challenges faced by public health professionals
Public health professionals face a range of challenges in their efforts to protect and improve the health of communities and populations. These challenges can vary depending on the specific public health issue, geographical location, and available resources. Here are some common challenges faced by public health professionals:
- Resource Constraints: Limited funding, staff shortages, and inadequate resources can hinder public health efforts, making it challenging to implement effective programs and interventions.
- Complexity of Health Issues: Many public health problems are multifaceted and influenced by various factors, including social determinants of health, making them difficult to address comprehensively.
- Health Disparities: Addressing health disparities based on factors like race, socioeconomic status, and geographic location is an ongoing challenge in public health, as these disparities can lead to unequal health outcomes.
- Emergency Preparedness: Preparing for and responding to public health emergencies, such as pandemics, natural disasters, and bioterrorism threats, requires constant vigilance and preparedness.
- Vaccine Hesitancy: The rise of vaccine hesitancy and misinformation has made it more challenging to achieve high vaccination rates, which are essential for preventing infectious diseases.
- Global Health Threats: Public health professionals must contend with global health threats that transcend borders, such as emerging infectious diseases, climate change, and antimicrobial resistance.
- Data Privacy and Security: The collection and sharing of health data while protecting individuals’ privacy is a delicate balance that requires careful management.
- Political and Policy Challenges: Public health decisions and policies are sometimes influenced by political factors, which can lead to inconsistencies in public health messaging and actions.
- Community Engagement: Gaining the trust and active involvement of communities can be challenging, particularly when addressing sensitive health issues.
- Environmental Health: Ensuring clean air, water, and safe living environments requires addressing environmental factors that impact public health.
- Rapid Technological Advancements: While technology offers new tools for public health, keeping up with rapidly evolving technologies can be a challenge for public health professionals.
- Mental Health Concerns: The growing recognition of mental health as a critical public health issue has placed added demands on public health systems and resources.
- Workforce Development: Recruiting and retaining a skilled and diverse public health workforce is essential for addressing complex health challenges.
- Healthcare Access and Equity: Disparities in healthcare access and quality are persistent challenges that can affect the effectiveness of public health interventions.
- Changing Demographics: Demographic shifts, including aging populations and increasing urbanization, can impact the types of health issues that communities face.
- Communication Challenges: Effectively communicating public health messages to diverse populations, including those with limited health literacy, can be difficult.
10 importance of environmental health
Environmental health is a critical aspect of public health that focuses on the interactions between people and their environment, including the impact of the environment on human health. Here are ten important reasons why environmental health is significant:
- Disease Prevention: Environmental health measures help prevent the spread of infectious diseases by addressing factors like clean water, sanitation, and vector control (e.g., mosquito control).
- Safe Drinking Water: Ensuring access to safe and clean drinking water is a fundamental aspect of environmental health, preventing waterborne diseases and promoting overall health.
- Air Quality: Monitoring and improving air quality reduces the risk of respiratory diseases, cardiovascular problems, and other health issues associated with air pollution.
- Toxin and Chemical Management: Environmental health professionals manage and regulate exposure to harmful chemicals and toxins in the environment, reducing the risk of poisoning and long-term health problems.
- Food Safety: Environmental health measures include food safety inspections and regulations to prevent foodborne illnesses and ensure the safety of the food supply chain.
- Vector Control: Controlling disease vectors (e.g., mosquitoes, ticks) through environmental management helps prevent vector-borne diseases like malaria, Zika virus, and Lyme disease.
- Hazardous Waste Management: Proper disposal and management of hazardous waste prevent contamination of soil and water, protecting communities from harmful chemical exposures.
- Emergency Response: Environmental health professionals play a crucial role in responding to environmental emergencies, such as natural disasters, chemical spills, and disease outbreaks, to minimize health impacts.
- Healthy Built Environments: Designing and planning communities with health in mind can encourage physical activity, reduce pollution, and improve overall well-being.
- Environmental Justice: Addressing environmental health disparities and ensuring equitable access to a clean and safe environment is essential for promoting social justice and reducing health inequalities.