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Beyond leadership: political strategies for coordination in health policies.

Research paper by Scott L SL Greer, Denise F DF Lillvis

Indexed on: 01 Mar '14Published on: 01 Mar '14Published in: Health Policy



Abstract

Health in All Policies (HiAP) promises to improve population health by harnessing the energies and activities of various sectors. Nevertheless, it faces well-documented bureaucratic obstacles and appears to require intersectoral governance if it is to be established. The basic problems of establishing intersectoral governance for HiAP are known to public administration and political science. On reading that literature, we find that the difficulty of establishing intersectoral governance for HiAP breaks down into two kinds of problems: that of establishing coordinated actions at all (coordination); and ensuring that they endure in changed political circumstances (durability). We further find that policymakers' solutions fall into three categories: visible ones of political will (e.g., plans and targets); bureaucratic changes such as the introduction of Health Impact Assessment or reorganization; and indirect methods such as data publication and support from outside groups to put pressure on the government. It can seem that Health in All Policies, like much of public health, depends on effective and committed policymakers but is vulnerable to changing political winds. The three kinds of strategies suggest how policymakers can, and do, create intersectoral governance that functions and persists, expanding the range of effective policy recommendations.