Issues Practice

1. What is the issue you are defining or trying to address? More info
The issue you are working on could be almost anything: wait lists, health care budgets, health human resources, aging populations, chronic or infectious diseases, emergency preparedness, substance use, etc.
2. Summarize your current definition of this issue. More info
TIP: Don’t overthink this exercise. Just quickly list the main points of what you know or believe about the issue. Don’t worry about getting it ‘right’ at this stage.
3. Why is this an issue? More info
Can you clearly state why the issue is important? For example, is obesity an important issue because it threatens health, because it taxes health care budgets, because it is becoming more common, because we don’t fully understand it – or all of the above?
4. For whom is it important? More info
Once you’ve decided why an issue is important, ask yourself for whom it is important? For example, does your work lead you to focus on those living with unhealthy weights, on those paying the bills for obesity-related illnesses, on the food industry, on public policies?

Does knowing who cares about this issue affect your understanding of it or what you’ve been asked to do about it? For example, is the issue of obesity important to government because is strains health care budgets? Is it important for industry because the rising incidence of obesity might lead to new regulations on food production, preparation and packaging?
5. How do you know it is important? More info
Where are your information and ideas about this issue coming from? Research, popular attitudes, the media, political decisions, government sources, personal experience?

Are your sources of information reliable?

TIP: For more detail on types of evidence and assessing the strengths and limitations of evidence, link to the evidence module.

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