Policy Memo for Masters in Public Health

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PolicyMemoRubric.pdf

Policy Memo Elements Guiding Questions Exemplary Proficient Developing Unacceptable Comments: Background Does the background provide a clear and concise context

that accurately sets up the issue and opportunity? Sets up the issue in a concise, easy to read fashion; onveyes information that is required for understanding the issue; is consistent with other information in the document

Information is correct, but leaves some gaps or includes some extraneous information

Reader can get a general sense of context, but lack of clarity in information or presentation obscures the match between the context and the issue

Lack of clarity in information, or presentation confuses or misleads the reader on its relevance to the issue

Issue Is the issue conveyed in clear declarative statements? Gets to the heart of the problem; scope of the issue and its population impact is clear; framed as actionable, and without biasing consideration of policy options; it is pointed and easy to read; multiple issues are clearly separated

Information is correct, but additional precision in definitions or impact would improve clarity; statement potentially biases consideration of policy options

Information is relevant but does not crystallize to convey a clear delineation of the issue; issue is stated in a way that biases consideration of policy options

Information is incorrect or incomplete, or overtly slanted toward a predetermined option, or stated in a way that discourages action on policy

Policy options Are three plausible options presented? (and remember some are forced choices)

Presents three distinct options; all are presented as plausible approaches for policy interventions; all are relevant given the issue (no straw men)

Three clear options are presented; definition of the options raises some questions of plausibility or relevance

Options are presented but are not clearly differentiated as three distinct from each other; plausibility or relevance is unclear

Less than three clear options are presented; options do not show consideration of plausibility or relevance; student does not successfully demonstrate understanding of policy as an intervention

Evidence Does the paper appropriately use relevant and substantiated evidence?**

Evidence for and against is presented for each option, representing various points of view; information is taken from sources with enough interpretation/evaluation to develop a comprehensive analysis; evidence is sufficient to support robust discussion of impact and values, including cultural values and health equity

Evidence for and against is presented for each option representing various points of view; information is taken from sources with enough interpretation/evaluation to develop a coherent analysis; evidence includes some information on which to base discussion of impact and values

Evidence for and against is presented for each option, but with unequal emphasis and development; information is taken from sources with some interpretation/evaluation, but not enough to develop a coherent analysis; evidence present but not sufficient to support discussion of impact and values

Evidence for and against each option is lacking; information is taken from sources without any interpretation/ evaluation; edivence to support discussion of impact and values is specifically missing

Cultural Values Does the paper demonstrate appropriate consideration of cultural values and practices?**

Includes consideration of different groups (eg. social, racial, ethnic, political, sexual) as appropriate to the issue; discusses cultural values, controversies, and wins pertinent to the issue and potential policy intervention

Considers some different groups but misses some who would be affected; recognizes some values, controversies, and wins

Considers only one type of group but in depth; recognizes some values, controversies, and wins

Considers only one type of group but lacks depth; relationship between the issue and cultural values, controversies, and wins is unclear

Equity Does the discussion examine the impact of structural bias, social inequities and racism on the issue and the challenges they pose to effective policy at organizational, community, and societal levels?**

Demonstrates understanding of how structural bias, social inequities and racism relate to the issue; considers their impact on relevant groups; examines the challenges they pose to policy intervention at organizational, community, and societal levels.

Demonstrates correct understanding of the terms structural bias, social inequities and racism in the context of the issue and affected populations but discussion of their impact is underdeveloped; discussion of challenges to policy intervention could be sharper or neglects to cover three levels

Some problems in demonstrating clear and concise understanding of structural bias, social inequities and racism in the context of the issue and affected populations; discussion of their impact is underdeveloped; some discussion of challenges to policy intervention is present but incomplete

Understanding of how structural bias, social inequities and racism relate to the issue and affected populations is shallow or incorrect; challenges to policy intervention at three levels is not addressed

Recommendation Is there a clear recommendation for a policy? Presents, with clear declarative statement appropriate for the policy making audience, one unambiguous policy change as a recommended intervention

Presents one unambiguous policy change as a recommended intervention, but statement presenting it lacks clarity or appropriateness for audience

Policy change is present, but statement lack strength or clarity as an actionable recommendation

Recommendation is vague or ambiguous and does not serve to inform policy action

Rationale Is a supported rationale** for that recommendation given? Rationale draws upon evidence (as above), appropriately summarized salient points, and presents it clearly and appropriately for the intended audience

Rationale draws upon evidence above, but misses important points or includes less relevant points; presentation could be more succinct, more clear, or more audience- apppropriate

Rationale wavers from evidence above, includes unsupported statements; presentation could be more succinct, more clear, or more audience-apppropriate

Rationale is not sufficiently based on evidence; presentation is weak in clarity or audience-appropriateness

Assessment of population needs and assets

Does it include a statement of population needs?** Does it include a statement of population assets and capacities?**

Demonstrates understanding of the affected population(s) and their assets and capacities related to the issue; demonstrates application of evaluation/ judgement/ processing to reflect an assessment of those assets and capacities; rationale draws on assessment of assest and capacities to discuss recommendation's impact

Discusses affected population's (s') assets and capacities, but they are narrowly defined; discussion does not demonstrate application of evaluation/judgement/ processing to reflect an assessment; rationale reflects link between assets/capacities and the recommendation's impact

Some assets/capacities are stated but not sufficiently developed; discussion does not reflect an assessment process by the student; link between assets/capacities and the recommendation's impact is weak

Population's assets and capacities are not sufficiently addressed or not linked to the recommendation's impact

Impact of proposed policy

Does it discuss the proposed policy's potential impact on the health of the population?** Does it include a statement of the proposed policy's impact on health equity ?**

Demonstrates understanding of health equity and its relevance to the issue and affected populations; demonstrates that various elements of health equity impact were assessed; discusses impact of the intervention on health equity. Presents the recommended policy change as a health improvement intervention with plausible impact on population health discussed and linked to evidence presented above.

Demonstrates correct understanding of health equity in the context of the issue and affected populations; demonstrates that various elements of health equity impact were assessed; but discussion of the intervention's impact on health equity is underdeveloped. Some plausible impact of the intervention on population health is present.

Some problems in demonstrating clear and concise understanding of health equity in the context of the issue and affected populations; not clear how/if elements of health equity impact were assessed; discussion of the intervention's impact on health equity is underdeveloped. Consideration of the intervention's impact on population health is present but not reflective of evidence.

Shows only a superficial understanding and assessment of health equity in the issue and the affected population; recommendation's impact on health equity is weak. Link between the recommendation and impact on the health of the population is weak.

Next steps: stakeholders Does it propose strategies for working with stakeholders and coalitions?

Named stakeholders include individuals, organizations, and groups that are appropriate to the issue and represent a balance of different perspectives and partners; differentiates stakeholders and who/which organizations should be involved in a coalition for change; proposes strategies that demonstrate strategic thinking on alliances, common ground, and opposition

Named stakeholders reflect some broad thinking about groups that are appropriate to the issue, but some groups and perspectives are missing; differentiates between stakeholders and who/which organizations should be involved in a coalition for change; strategies for both stakeholder and coalitions are present

Stakeholders and coalition membership show a basic understanding of the issue, why it occurs, who it affects, and who/which organizations/individuals should be involved; strategies for both stakehoder and coalitions are present

Some stakeholder and coalition members are named, but show only a superficial understanding of the priority issue, who it affects, and who/which organizations/individuals should be involved; strategies for working with both stakeholders and coalitions are weak

Next steps: financial feasibility

Does it include a financial assesment (feasiblity)? Demonstrates understanding of major cost elements of the policy recommendation; reviews their implications for stakeholders who bear costs and benefits; draws supportable conclusions about financial feasibility

Demonstrates consideration of major cost elements; presents some consideration of implications for stakeholders; presents some conclusions about financial feasibility

Presents some information on major cost elements of the recommendation and their implications for stakeholders; presents some conclusions about financial feasiblity

Major cost elements of the recommendation and their impact not realistically considered; supportable conclusions about financial feasibility not presented

Next steps: impact assessment

Does it include measures of performance and impact? Demonstrates understanding of the importance of measuring performance and providing accountability; suggests feasible process and outcome/impact performance measures that are directed to responsible parties and appropriate for short, medium, and long term accountability to stakeholder groups; logically links to the issue, the affected populations, and the desired health status changes

Suggests feasible process and outcome/impact performance measures; consideration of the need for short, medium, and long term accountability to various stakeholders and who is responsible for the measures misses some points; presents a logic thread between the issue, the affected population, and the desired health status change

Suggest some performance measures but the link between process and outcome is not clear; consideration of the need for short, medium, and long term accountability to various stakeholders and who is responsible for the measures misses some points; some inconsistencies in the logic thread between the issue, the affected population, and the desired health status change

Suggests some performance measures but the logic between the measures, the issue, the expected performance and the desired impact is weak; measures do not serve to adequately assess performance or impact.

Next steps: sustainability Does it include measures of sustainability? Demonstrates understanding of the characteristics of a sustainable intervention; proposes at least three specific actions for sustainability built into the process; acknowledges threats/vulnerabilities to sustainability

Demonstrates general understanding of the characteristics of a sustainable intervention but lacks sufficient specific actions to take; acknowledges threats/vulnerabilities to sustainability

Provides some specific actions to improve sustainability but does not demonstrate a deep understanding of how the characteristics of a sustainable intervention apply to their proposal, or how the threats to their proposal's sustainability

Does not demonstrate an understanding of the characteristics of a sustainable intervention

Composition

Writing/ Presentation Is the language straightforward, professional, and audience appropriate?

All sentences are complete and grammatically correct. All words are chosen for their precise meanings. All new or unusual terms are well- defined. Key concepts and theories are accurately and completely explained. Good, clear examples are used to illuminate concepts and issues. Information (names, facts, etc.) is accurate. Paper has been spell- checked and proofread, and has no errors, and no rhetorical questions or slang.

All sentences are complete and grammatically correct. Most words are chosen for their precise meanings. Most new or unusual terms are well- defined. Key concepts and theories are explained. Examples are clear. Information (names, facts, etc.) is accurate. Paper has been spell- checked and proofread, and has very few errors, and no rhetorical questions or slang.

A few sentences are incomplete and/or grammatically incorrect. Words are not chosen for their precise meanings. New or unusual terms are not well-defined. Key concepts and theories are not explained. Examples are not clear. Information (names, facts, etc.) is mostly accurate. Paper has several spelling errors, rhetorical questions and/or uses of slang.

Many sentences are incomplete and/or grammatically incorrect. The author does not acknowledge that key words have precise meanings. Information (names, facts, etc.) is inaccurate. Paper has many spelling errors, rhetorical questions and/or uses of slang.

Heading Elements Is it formatted appropriately, with all elements present and correct, as an internal memo? Must have the following elements clearly labeled: 1. Introduction 2. Issue Statement (1 to 2 sentences) 3. Policy Options 4. Recommendation 5. Next Steps 6. References. All of the other elements are still required but writers may wish to have some flexibility in how they approach the memo.

1. To/From is present and makes sense (internal memo); 2. has a date; 3. format is appropriate for audience, as an internal memo; 4. subject concisely conveys the content/aim

To/From is present and makes sense (internal memo); has a date; format is appropriate for audience, as an internal memo; subject line does not concisely convey the content/aim

Deficiencies in two to three of the four criteria

Deficiencies in all four of the criteria

Structure Are there references? Is font appropriate? Is the length appropriate?

Citations consistently used appropriately; references consistently formatted appropriately; appropriate font and length

Some missing citations; references consistently formatted appropriately

Lack of citations makes it difficult to differentiate student conjecture and supported statements, or risks impressions of plagiarism; references lack consistent accepted formatting

Citations or references notably missing

Assignment:

* remember some are forced choices ** allow for some variation in structure but ensure that that elements are clearly identifiable within the memo (e.g., not only must they include evidence, they must evaluate it as part of a discussion)

Please see case inject and How to Write a Policy Memo for specific instructions