The Nebraska Health Policy Academy (HPA) is a competency-based training program designed to strengthen capacity of state, local, and tribal health leaders and their key partners to understand the health policy process. The Academy uses a hands-on approach grounded in problem solving, decision-making and leadership. The HPA is funded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Strengthening Public Health Infrastructure for Improved Health Outcomes grant (CDC-RFA-CD10-1011) to the State of Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (2010-2015), and in-kind support provided from the UNMC College of Public Health. In addition, a two day health policy short course, a major tenet of the overall curriculum, is funded by the Great Plains Public Health Training Center.
The primary goal of the HPA is to increase the capacity of Nebraska’s state and local public health staff and their community partners to use public health policy and law as a public health tool.
The long-term objectives of the HPA are:
1. To design and deliver the Health Policy Academy, an innovative, competency-based policy training initiative targeting Nebraska’s state and local public health staff.
2. To build the capacity of the public health workforce in Nebraska to use policy, systems and environmental approaches to improve the public’s health.
Comprised of a combination of on-site sessions, live webinars and calls with guest faculty from across the country, as well as resources for distance learning via asynchronous modules and discussion boards, the HPA is a nine month, team-based program based on the six-stage Nebraska Health Policy Curriculum Framework designed to take participants through the entire policy-making process by answering the following questions:
- Who is involved and how?
- What is the nature of the issue?
- What will be done?
- How will the policy be authorized?
- How will the policy be put into practice?
- Did the policy make a difference?
The HPA accepts teams of 5-7 health department staff members and key community partners. Teams will apply the skills and training they receive to a project that simulates the policy process in an effort to link public health practice to policy.