What is the role of the Surgeon General in public health?

Module 4 Discussion Policy, Government and Law in Public Health

Please choose one of the following prompts:

• Why is it important for public health nurses to understand how the U.S. health care system is organized and functions, how it impacts the population and the practice of nursing?
• Who is the Surgeon General? What is the role of the Surgeon General in public health?
• From the strategies identified by the IOM to enhance population health, select 3 of those suggestions. Develop specific examples of changes that would operationalize the strategy.
• What is the difference between public and voluntary health agencies? Choose a voluntary health agency that you have encountered in your practice, visit their website and report your findings using the following criteria:
o Mission/goals
o Funding source
o Leadership structure
o Description of how the organization performs it mission ( e.g. grants, direct volunteer labor)
• In comparison with other developed countries, the U.S. spends more money but performs poorly on many major health outcomes indicators. Why is this? What are the factors and circumstances that contribute to this observation?
After completing this module, you will be able to do the following:
• Review the process that bills become law both at the federal and state level.
• Chart the relationship of the major U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agencies including Administration for Children and Families, Administration for Community Living, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Agency for the Toxic substances and Disease Registry, centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Food and Drug Administration, Health Resources and Services Administration, Indian Health Service, National Institutes of Health, and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Briefly describe the goal of each one. Indicate where the office of the Surgeon General resides.
• Apply criteria for the health policy evaluation.
• Discuss the role of nursing in public policy development.
Every area of practice of nursing will be affected by the federal and state laws, regulations and politics. Public health nurses need an understanding of how the government is organized regarding health care and how to practice nursing to the fullest within these parameters. This module should build upon earlier courses describing health care financing, ethics, systems, organizations, and professionalism. That knowledge will be used to address specific issues facing public health nurses and application of that knowledge to health policy analysis.
Learning Material
• Curley, A. L. C. & Vitale, P. A. Population-based nursing: Competencies and concepts for advanced practice. New York: Springer Publishing. Chapters 6-7

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