Media coverage of new public health regulations often seems to follow a template:
The [regulatory agency]’s plan to implement [public health regulation] is causing controversy among [businesses affected] and [individuals who object]. While public health officials say the plan is needed in order to address the [public health problem] that affects [statistics], opponents believe the plan to be an example of government interfering too much in [topic area].
These news stories carry the implication that all sides of the issue are frozen into position and that policy making is little more than a power struggle.
But there’s another way to think about how policy is developed to improve health: as a dynamic process open to a range of policy alternatives. Besides adopting binding regulations, agencies can take a range of other steps, such as educating about a health threat, asking for public reporting of data, and encouraging voluntary efforts by key parties.
Identify all potential conflicts of interest that might be relevant to your comment.
Conflicts of interest comprise financial interests, activities, and relationships within the past 3 years including but not limited to employment, affiliation, grants or funding, consultancies, honoraria or payment, speaker's bureaus, stock ownership or options, expert testimony, royalties, donation of medical equipment, or patents planned, pending, or issued.
Err on the side of full disclosure.
If you have no conflicts of interest, check "No potential conflicts of interest" in the box below. The information will be posted with your response.
Not all submitted comments are published. Please see our commenting policy for details.
Joshua M. Sharfstein, MD Joshua M. Sharfstein, MD, is Vice Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement and Professor of the Practice at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland. He previously served as Secretary of...