Putting Students to Work Writing APHA Policy Papers

By: Dr. Amy Hagopian 

University of Washington faculty members in the Department of Global Health have found opportunities to do double duty as teachers and APHA activists.  For two years, faculty have assigned students to write APHA position papers on important policy areas, while at the same time offering valuable learning opportunities for students.  In the last couple of years, students have written four policy papers approved by APHA’s Governing Council:

  1. Transporting nuclear waste (20107)
  2. Cleaning up the Hanford nuclear reservation (20105)
  3. Improving housing for farmworkers (adopted in 2011, not yet given a number)
  4. Creating citizenship opportunities for undocumented workers in the U.S. (number pending, adopted in 2011).

Students have also written two additional policy proposals for submission in 2012:

  1. Reducing non-point pollution run-off into coastal waters
  2. Modernizing the Clean Water Act to improve its ability to address modern point-source water pollution hazards

Now two UW faculty members, inspired by the “Occupy” movement and the brief statement of support for it adopted by the governing council at the annual meeting in DC this year, have invited two students to work on a new policy.  Faculty members Stephen Bezruchka and Amy Hagopian will work with UW graduate students Valerie Pacino and Nathan Furukawa to write a position paper on the health hazards of income inequality, but within and between nations.

Authors of the position paper are inspired by populist movements, including the ones that preceded Occupy protests–especially the Arab Spring actions in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and beyond.  These efforts used narratives on income inequality, wealth inequality and social inequality to spur direct action.

We invite International Health section members with ideas about how to contribute to these position statements, or who can refer us to literature citations, to be in touch. Please contact Dr. Amy Hagopian (hagopian [dot] amy [at] gmail [dot] com) for more information.

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