Research public health issues on the Climate Change or Topics and Issues pages of the American Public Health Association (APHA) website. Investigate 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.
Write a 750-1,000-word policy brief that summarizes the issue, explains the effect on the population, and proposes a solution to the issue.
Follow this outline when writing the policy brief:
- Describe the policy 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 issues supported by resources.
- Create a problem statement.
- Provide suggestions for addressing the health issue caused by the current policy. Describe what steps are required to initiate policy change. Include necessary stakeholders (government officials, administrator) and budget or funding considerations, if applicable.
- 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. An abstract is not required.
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Expert Answer and Explanation
Environmental Health in Hispanic Population
Policy issue and population affected
Environmental health is considered as the interaction between people and the environment and how it influences their health outcomes. The relation between the environment and community health is an issue which many at times is underscored with minority low-income population being on the receiving end. This paper will therefore evaluate it as the target health policy issue.
The population of choice for the policy paper will be low-income Hispanics across the country. Hispanics are said to be the largest minority group in the US, standing at 17% of the total population (Velasco-Mondragon et al., 2016). According to Velasco-Mondragon et al. (2016), Hispanics being a minority group are said to face various health disparities which makes them be disadvantaged health-wise as compared to other population groups like non-Hispanic Whites. The disparities faced by this population are caused by social, cultural, economic, and environmental factors. The health issues that are prevalent for a majority of Hispanics are more pronounced in the low-income earners who belong to this community.
For a majority of low-income Hispanic families, affordability of housing in areas where the environment is conducive for healthy living is an issue. In most of the places where they live in, it is rare to find recreational facilities where they can carry out physical exercises, hence the high rates of weight and cardiovascular-related issues (Suglia et al., 2016). In such neighborhoods, environmental pollution is also usually high. Most Hispanics are also known for the provision of labor in many industries. Some of the places or industries they work in are laced with toxic pollutants which affect their overall health (Stewart, Bacon & Burke, 2014). Hence, the reason for this paper to consider them as a population of interest
Environmental factors play a vital role in the health outcomes of individuals and communities at large. Amidst the continuous degradation of the environment leading to global issues such as climate change, degradation of community health, especially minority population in low-income communities, has become more evident. Advocating for better management of the environment as a means of improving environmental health has become a hurdle, especially for the said vulnerable minority populations. It is however encouraging that, despite the disadvantaged position held by minority population, recent trends have indicated an increased awareness on environmental health by minority populations (Macias, 2016).
For the Hispanic population, several health issues faced by the community can be attributed to poor environmental health. Increased cases of cancer-related illnesses, respiratory disorders, cardiovascular problems, and even weight-related challenges can be attributed to lack of conducive living and working environment (Ash & Boyce, 2018). Little has been done to correct this problem. This policy paper will therefore try to highlight the link between environmental factors, and the effects on health in the Hispanic population. The paper will also tackle some of the policy measures that can be put in place to improve environmental health for this population.
Suggestions for addressing the health issue caused by the current policy
There are several approaches which can be used to tackle the issue of environmental health in the Hispanic population. The first being advocacy for better living and working environment. Advocacy involves lobbying the relevant institutions, in local, state, and national level to make necessary changes to existing problems (Ray et al., 2015). Advocating for policy changes to reduce environmental pollution, especially from industrial activities, can prove to be of significant help in improving the environmental health of the target population.
Local initiatives aimed at improving environmental health can also help. Local initiatives such as health promotion programs can help to sensitize the community on the importance of a clean and conducive environment on their health outcomes. Such initiatives can be done in collaboration with community health facilities, local authorities, and learning institutions. The advantage for such initiatives is that they usually require very little budgetary implications if any.
The steps required to initiate policy changes include sensitizing the community on the policy issue, which is the effect of environmental factors on health outcomes. By making the community aware of the scope of the policy, they can then take the initiative to advocate for the required changes. Some of the stakeholders involved at this stage include institutions like local community health facilities, faith-based organizations, learning institutions, and even government institutions to list a few. The next step is to lobby, with the support of the community, for the necessary policy framework to be put in place and implemented. Lobbying is a part of advocacy which involves seeking support from different quarters including from health institutions, government officials, private institutions to initiate policy changes (Ray et al., 2015).
The impact on the health care delivery system
It is expected that with the necessary policy changes put in place, the environmental health of the population is going to improve tremendously. Prevalence of certain diseases like cancer, respiratory problems, among others, is going to reduce drastically (Hartig, Mitchell, De Vries & Frumkin, 2014). It is also expected that the existing gaps in health disparities faced by the target community are also going to reduce. Environmental health takes a proactive approach to enhancing community health. This approach is usually considered to be more cost-effective, which means there will be a substantial reduction in healthcare costs spent by the vulnerable Hispanic population. The policy, if implemented is also expected to devolve the mandate of promoting good health to the local community, where the community is going to be empowered to be champions of promoting good environmental health
Ash, M., & Boyce, J. K. (2018). Racial disparities in pollution exposure and employment at US industrial facilities. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(42), 10636-10641.
Hartig, T., Mitchell, R., De Vries, S., & Frumkin, H. (2014). Nature and health. Annual review of public health, 35, 207-228.
Macias, T. (2016). Environmental risk perception among race and ethnic groups in the United States. Ethnicities, 16(1), 111-129.
Ray, M. M., Roberts, S., Foley, M., Dodd, C., Whelan, E. M., & Woody, M. P. (2015). Lobbying policymakers: Individual and collective strategies. Policy & Politics in Nursing and Health Care-E-Book, 390.
Stewart, I. T., Bacon, C. M., & Burke, W. D. (2014). The uneven distribution of environmental burdens and benefits in Silicon Valley’s backyard. Applied Geography, 55, 266-277.
Suglia, S. F., Shelton, R. C., Hsiao, A., Wang, Y. C., Rundle, A., & Link, B. G. (2016). Why the neighborhood social environment is critical in obesity prevention. Journal of Urban Health, 93(1), 206-212.
Velasco-Mondragon, E., Jimenez, A., Palladino-Davis, A. G., Davis, D., & Escamilla-Cejudo, J. A. (2016). Hispanic health in the USA: a scoping review of the literature. Public Health Reviews, 37(1), 31.
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