Welcome to the Policy Corner!
Join us for a series of conversations about how policy can be used to make our communities more enjoyable and equitable places to live.
Communities across the country have long used policy to keep their neighborhoods healthy and safe. When communities launch policy initiatives, a common question that arises is, “What do you mean by policy?”
Simply defined, a policy is a written document that must be followed and is widely applicable. Policies are used to change physical environments, community norms, or the way organizations and systems operate. Policies have the potential to affect the decisions and behaviors of entire populations. Although policies are just one type of tool that can be used to improve health, they often bring about significant results more efficiently and at a lower cost than other types of changemaking tools.
The universe of policy encompasses laws and regulations as well as other rulemaking documents like school districts’ policies or companies’ internal policies. They range from city council decisions limiting residents’ exposure to secondhand smoke to business contracts ensuring employees have access to healthy food.
In this series of blog posts, we’ll be exploring the ways that policies help build healthy, equitable communities. We’ll also look at the other side of that coin: the ways policies can (usually unintentionally) make communities less healthy and less equitable. Because policy decisions can have a significant impact across a community, it’s critical to make sure that policies are fair and well crafted.
See our What Is Policy? fact sheet for more Policy 101, and follow us on Medium for the latest updates on our policy posts. To learn more about health equity, check out our Building Healthy, Equitable Communities series of blog posts, webinars, and continued conversation sessions about promoting health equity through law and policy.