The Professionalism Series consists of 10 modules. Module 9 - social responsibility, advocacy, and public policy - identifies and defines the three domains of health policy.
Policy refers to the decisions issued by government bodies with which health care professionals have to comply. The process to arrive at these decisions is informed and influenced by the advocacy process. Another way to think of it is that policy is an outcome and describes a current status; advocacy is the plan or desire to change this policy or status.
Social responsibility is the core value or behavior that is needed to guide these behavior and its desired outcome. The three are linked together and flow in a cyclical nature. As health professionals begin to develop social responsibility, it leads them to understand the policies that influence their ability to serve and practice within their education, expertise, and experience. They understand the limitations to current policies and begin to employ advocacy strategies to change these policy, which in turn are an application of their social responsibility. Individuals can enter at any of these three elements and they each begin to drive and build upon the other for a higher level of social responsibility, advocacy and hopefully policies that seek the objective of improving the health of all Americans.
As we begin to look at these three areas, we will start with public and health policy, transition to advocacy, and then finish with the social responsibility element. As we examine each of these elements we will provide examples and activities to provide a greater context for the application of these elements by health care professionals, such as physical therapists.
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