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Health policy networks : bridging interests and augmenting influence in the changing global health policy environment

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library
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Context: In recent years, global health has grown as a public policy priority in the United States and abroad. U.S. global health policy, once influenced by a small group of stakeholders, is now shaped by an expanded set of actors. The more inclusive policymaking process has, in turn, become more complex. Objective: This dissertation identifies practical strategies that the Global Health Council ("the Council"), a U.S.-based international membership association, can use to maintain its influence over and benefit from a changed policy environment. Design: Documenting U.S. global health policy trends over the past decade, transcripts of 40 key informant interviews and a database of 576 organizations affiliated with the Council provide the data for analysis. Policy sciences and organizational sciences approaches frame the study analysis. Results: Data analysis finds that the Council is now one of many organizations working to shape U.S. global health policy. The Council contributes to the policymaking process and network of policy actors as a direct advocate and broker of policy interactions and information. Increased investments in global health advocacy, however, have rendered these functions less unique. The Council's expansive inter-organizational network, rooted in its membership base, might offer additional advantage in the changed policy environment. However, the organization presently engages only a minority of these potentially advantageous relationships. Conclusion: The Council can maximize its impact by implementing strategies that ensure that its policy processes and products remain effective and preferred by the network of global health stakeholders. These strategies are to: better articulate the organization's policy identity; monitor more closely core policy functions for preferred outcomes and necessary adaptation; identify stakeholders and prioritize interactions; establish a system for stakeholder policy input; and monitor global health environment trends. Implications for Practice: This research indicates that the Council's advocate and broker functions along with its membership network serve as the basis for the organization to continue its positive global health policy authority. By integrating strategies presented in this dissertation with current policy activities, the Council is likely to remain one of the premier global health policy authorities now and in the future.

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