Did you know that the United States has a higher rate of infant mortality than Japan (CIA, n.d.)? Or, as Dr. Beilenson states in this week’s media presentation, that “your zip code that you live in makes more difference in your health and well-being than the genetic code that you’re born with?” What causes these differences in health outcomes?
To effectively develop policies and programs to improve population health, it is useful to use a framework to guide the process. Different organizations and governmental agencies (for example, Healthy People 2020) have created a variety of such frameworks, which establish measures for assessing population health. These measures frequently are derived from the examination of epidemiologic data, which include key measures of population health such as mortality, morbidity, life expectancy, etc. Within each measure are a variety of progress indicators that use epidemiologic data to assess improvement or change.
For this Discussion, you will apply a framework developed by Kindig, Asada, and Booske (2008) to a population health issue of interest to you. This framework includes five key health determinants that should be considered when developing policies and programs to improve population health: access to health care, individual behavior, social environment, physical environment, and genetics.
- Review the article “A Population Health Framework for Setting National and State Health Goals,” focusing on population health determinants.
- Review the information in the blog post “What Is Population Health?”
- With this information in mind, elect a population health issue that is of interest to you.
- Using this week’s Learning Resources, the Walden Library, and other relevant resources, conduct a search to locate current data on your population health issue.
- Consider how epidemiologic data has been used to design population health measures and policy initiatives in addressing this issue.
By Day 3
Post a summary of how the five population health determinants (access to health care, individual behavior, social environment, physical environment, and genetics) affect your selected health issue, and which determinants you think are most impactful for that particular issue and why. Explain how epidemiologic data supports the significance of your issue, and explain how this data has been used in designing population health measures and policy initiatives.
- Introduction. Use the introduction to state your thesis, outline the main points you will make in the essay/paper, and describe the conclusions which you will draw in the essay. Essays are not mystery papers; the reader should know from the beginning what your conclusions are. Use the introduction to draw the reader into the essay. Often it is easier to write your introduction last, after you clearly know what arguments you develop in the essay.
- Body. The body is the bulk of your paper, the place where you present your facts and develop your thoughts and arguments. The body can be developed chronologically, thematically, geographically, or in any number of ways, but you must make it clear how you are approaching and organizing the material. While you write the essay, keep in mind the following points:
- Write in paragraphs. Each paragraph is a unit of thought limited to one major idea. Each paragraph should relate to and support your thesis or central argument. Use specific and concrete examples to support your general statements. Be sure your facts are correct and that they support your argument.
- Use good grammar. This includes writing in complete sentences, using past tense instead of present tense when appropriate, using active verbs instead of passive ones, varying your vocabulary, and avoiding sexist language (i.e.–don’t use the generic “he” or talk about the history of man when you mean the history of humans or people). If you have taken an English composition class, bring those skills into your essay.
- Write analytically, not descriptively. Do not just explain what happened, but also try to explain why it happened and why it is significant. Facts are important, but without interpretation they become meaningless.
- I am not looking for any “correct” answers. Rather, it is more important that you are able to use the material to develop an argument supporting your viewpoint.
- You will be rewarded for independent and original thought. Don’t be afraid to give your opinions and interpretations of the material (this is your thesis!). Be critical of your readings and the lectures. Look for new ways of approaching the material. When you disagree with an author’s views, say so.
- Be creative. Make your essay interesting to read. Don’t assume that your instructor will know everything there is to know on your topic. Write as if you are teaching someone something that is new and interesting. This will automatically make your paper a better one.
- Conclusion. The conclusion can be as simple as a restatement of your introduction. It should emphasize your thesis, and briefly summarize how you have proven it in the body of the paper. In this way, your paper is cyclical–you end up where you started. You can also use the conclusion to state your own interpretations, to assess and argue with the material you have read, and to point to gaps in our historical knowledge.
If your assignment is to write a five-six page paper, you may find it most useful to follow the nine-paragraph model where the first two paragraphs constitute the introduction, the next six form the body, and the final two paragraphs as the conclusion. The introduction and conclusion frame your essay, and the body presents the information necessary to support your thesis. Each of the six paragraphs should concern one specific issue which supports your main argument. For example, if your assignment is to write a paper on the consequences of the American War for Independence, these six paragraphs might touch on social, economic, and political aspects which demonstrate that Independence resulted in either profound or minimal changes (your thesis). This format, of course, can be modified as necessary to meet the specific needs of your topic. If you are writing a 20-page research paper, the introduction might be several paragraphs long. If your assignment is to write a three-page paper, follow the five-paragraph model where the first paragraph is the introduction, the next three form the body, and the final paragraph is the conclusion.
Read a selection of your colleagues’ responses.
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