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Policy Brief

Policy Brief

Sample Answer 

Policy Brief

Policy Brief – Climate Change and the 1963 Clean Air Act

Description of the Policy Health Issue

One of the primary objectives of public health laws or policies is to protect citizens from potential harm resulting from environmental degradation or damage. Studies have shown that climate change influences both the environmental and social determinants of health, including secure shelter, secure drinking water, clear air, and safe and sufficient food. The increase in air pollution and the need to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, including greenhouse gases, prompted the U.S. government to institute the Clean Air Act in 1963. This policy aimed to curb several health issues, including the level of gases emitted by vehicles, including aircraft and automobiles, protecting the ozone layer, controlling noise pollution, safeguarding the stratosphere, and improving air quality.

This policy brief will focus on the health issue of climate change, which the Clean Air Act was designed to improve by regulating greenhouse emissions that destroy the ozone layer and controlling the rise in carbon dioxide levels. Greenhouse emissions are a health hazard to the American population because they result in an increase in the earth’s temperature and a rise in sea levels. The World Health Organization (2018) estimates that climate change is likely to lead to nearly 250,000 extra deaths each year from heat stress, diarrhea, malaria, as well as malnutrition. These health issues are nationwide and affect all Americans. However, Americans residing in coastal cities like Miami and New Orleans are likely to have their houses submerged because of sea-level rise. Water-borne diseases are also expected to be on the rise in these cities. Adverse weather effects, including extreme heatwaves, tornadoes, and tsunamis, are also on the rise, causing thousands of deaths annually. One of the deadliest was Hurricane Katrina, which hit New Orleans in 2005, killing 1,800 people and costing nearly $125 billion in damages. Others like Hurricane Sandy (2012), Hurricane Harvey (2017), Hurricane Maria (2017), and Hurricane Michael have destroyed properties, rendered thousands homeless, and killed hundreds, if not thousands. According to Rhodes et al. (2010), these adverse weather conditions have also caused the victims’ physical injuries and mental illnesses.

For example, one study estimates that climate change will likely increase the incidence rates of vector-borne diseases (including zoonoses). In temperate regions, where most American cities fall, the multiplication of malaria starts in spring with the onset of mosquito activity (Greer, Ng, & Fisman, 2008). Normally, Americans encounter peaks in either early autumn or late summer, and the threat is lower with the fading of mosquitoes during autumn. However, climate change could mean that spring starts early, prolonging the amplification cycle. This could possibly mean an upsurge in human infection as well as incidence rates. Alternatively, more flooding due to sea-level rise will increase the breeding grounds for mosquitoes in areas the prevalence rates were previously low. A report released by the CDC reveals that the cases of malaria in the entire U.S. have been rising slowly for the past decade, with a high figure of 2078 cases recorded in 2016 since 1972 (Mace et al., 2019).

Problem Statement

The problem of climate change and the rise of illnesses due to human activities and environmental pollution have been attributed to primarily the ineffective implementation of the Clean Air Act. As such, companies and automobiles still continue to release harmful greenhouse emissions into the atmosphere unmonitored. Consequently, the cases of vector-borne diseases like malaria, the deaths caused by flooding, and the sea-level rise in coastal cities like New Orleans are overwhelmingly impacting the health and well-being of Americans. Adverse weather effects like droughts, wildfires, tornadoes, extreme heat, hurricanes, and tsunamis continue to damage the health and well-being of American citizens. The current policy (Clean Air Act) has failed to address the problem of climate change because it does not encourage industry collaboration, stipulate the use of evidence and science, and does not completely support awareness creation.

Suggestions for Addressing the Policy Health Issue

The health problem of climate is bigger than one individual because it is multi-faceted and touches on different sectors of the economy. Thus, stakeholders from all industries, including the environment, judicial system, and health, need to work together collaboratively at all levels to ensure the effective implementation of policies. However, based on the shortcomings of the Clean Air Act highlighted above, the best policy change recommendations include introducing amendments that encourage industry collaboration and partnerships. This will ensure that all sectors (transport, health, environment, agriculture, and information technology, work together to design long-lasting, practical, and effective solutions. The second recommendation is to raise awareness by creating organizations and agencies at national, state, and local levels to disseminate information and educate the public on the impacts of climate change and how to control it. The last measure is to encourage the use of science and evidence to map and identify the potential risks of climate change and design new technologies to mitigate them (World Health Organization, 2018).

The critical steps required to initiate any of the policy changes mentioned above include (1)  initiating the policy change process by identifying the need and determining who will take the responsibility, (2) gathering evidence and information, (3) drafting the policy, (4) consulting with relevant stakeholders (5) reviewing for final approval (6) and implementation (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1984).

Impact on Health care Delivery System

Changes in public health law are ideally intended to impact healthcare delivery to the public, which subsequently boosts healthcare outcomes. Similarly, for the Clean Air Act policy proposal changes recommended above, the primary objective is to boost the health outcomes of the public. Specifically, introducing amendments that encourage industry collaboration and partnerships will increase coordination among different health agencies and other industry players. Healthcare workers will be able to properly represent their issues in the climate change agenda. Creating policy changes that advocate for an increase in awareness, on the other hand, will ensure that health workers receive enough resources that can allow them to efficiently disseminate data and information to the public about the impacts and threats of climate change (World Health Organization, 2018). The last policy change, encouraging the use of evidence and science, will equip providers and the healthcare system with modern skills and knowledge on how to diagnose, treat, prevent, and manage diseases, disabilities, injuries, and other adverse conditions resulting from climate change. For example, more resources will be allocated to train personnel and build machinery needed in disaster management to prevent the deaths, mental illnesses, and the deaths that might occur due to adverse climate changes, including flooding, hurricanes, and so on.


Greer, A., Ng, V., & Fisman, D. (2008). Climate change and infectious diseases in North America: The road ahead. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 178(6), 715-722.

Mace, K. E., et al. (2019).  Malaria Surveillance – the United States, 2016. MMWR Surveillance Summaries, 68(5):1-35.

Rhodes, J., et al. (2010). The impact of Hurricane Katrina on the mental and physical health of low-income parents in New Orleans. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 80(2), 237-247.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (1984). Section 301(a)(1) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA Or Superfund): A Report to Congress on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Experience with Implementing Superfund. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

World Health Organization. (2018). Climate change and health. Retrieved from


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Policy Brief

The benchmark assesses the following competencies:

1.4 Participate in health care policy development to influence nursing practice and health care.

Research public health issues on the “Climate Change” or “Topics and Issues” pages of the American Public Health Association (APHA) website. Investigate a public health issue related to an environmental issue within the U.S. health care delivery system and examine its effect on a specific population.

Write a 750-1,000-word policy brief that summarizes the issue, explains the effect on the population, and proposes a solution to the issue.

Policy Brief

Policy Brief

Follow this outline when writing the policy brief:

  • Describe the policy health issue. Include the following information: (a) what population is affected, (b) at what level does it occur (local, state, or national), and (c) evidence about the issues supported by resources.
  • Create a problem statement.
  • Provide suggestions for addressing the health issue caused by the current policy. Describe what steps are required to initiate policy change. Include necessary stakeholders (government officials, administrator) and budget or funding considerations, if applicable.
  • Discuss the impact on the health care delivery system.
  • Include three peer-reviewed sources and two other sources to support the policy brief.

Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center. An abstract is not required.

This assignment uses a rubric. Please review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion.

You are required to submit this assignment to LopesWrite. Refer to the LopesWrite Technical Support articles for assistance.

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