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Shifting the focus to public policy

The current Editor’s Pick article is an excellent example of scholarly dialogue that offers a new perspective on a problem, shifting the focus from an individual approach to a broad public policy approach.  The article is titled “Redefining Gender-Based Power to Move Beyond Interpersonal Approaches to HIV Prevention”.  The authors, Kate Louise Horton and Shari L Dworkin, recognize the value and importance of interpersonal approaches to problems of gender inequity, but examine the need to also shift to the realm of public policy in addressing a widespread problem.  Kate Horton shared this reflection on how their work evolved:

Redefining gender based power evolved from a paper originally written for Ruth Malone’s “Theories of the Policy Process” teensclass at the University of California San Francisco School of Nursing. An inspirational and empowering class for a neophyte Health Policy doctoral student, it provided the inspiration to look beyond the traditional scope of nursing practice, to examine the broader context of gender-related health inequalities and the lack of policy engagement with the issue.

The article is intended to move the conversation forward, so that much needed policy attention can be garnered, to address some of the massive social and structural inequalities faced by women (and particularly women of color) that affect their health. As interdisciplinary scholars (a Nursing and Health Policy doctoral student, and a Sociology professor) the authors hope that the article challenges both policy discourses surrounding gender, power, and inequality, as well as the scope of nursing practice.

We would like to thank Ruth Malone for her inspirational teaching, and Anne Teitelman and colleagues for providing an empirical platform upon which to develop these theoretical ideas.

In the current environment of nursing and health care the prevailing focus is on individuals, and individual responsibility for health and well-being.  This article provides an excellent analysis that documents the value of shifting the focus to the public realm, the realm of public policy.  Visit the ANS web site now to download this article at no charge while it is featured!

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