Capstone Papers-The Media as an Instrument in the Health Policy Process
The Media as an Instrument in the Health Policy Process
Health ideas and policy initiatives come from a variety of places. They can begin with a Congressional leader who made a campaign promise regarding a specific issue. An idea or policy initiative can also originate from municipal ordinances and gain the attention of state lawmakers. Sometimes policies from one country gain attention and are adopted by another country. Policies can even come from advocacy groups (e.g., Mothers against Drunk Driving) who have made their agenda known to policymakers.
The media is another place where ideas and policy initiatives develop. News reports, articles, books, and films have the power to raise awareness with the public and motivate policymakers to investigate an issue.
Recall the story of the American teenager, Ryan White (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, n.d.). Due to media attention in the 1980s, he quickly came to the forefront for AIDS awareness in the United States. The attention to his case not only eventually changed people’s perception of AIDS, but his situation also helped to establish new laws to protect and help AIDS patients and their families.
In cases like these, an issue that may not have been on the political radar is suddenly in the public eye, resulting in a political movement and new legislation.