250542 Initiating Policy Change in Jurisdictions Recalcitrant to Comprehensive Sex Education: Policy Diffusion as a Strategic Model for the Policy Process

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 11:30 AM

T. Lucas Hollar, PhD , Master of Public Health Program, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL
The nature of sex education in Florida is changing. There are several policy process models available to help make sense of and to explain policy development, policy change, policy success, and policy failure. Some models seek to predict policy activity, such as Sabatier and Jenkins-Smith's Advocacy Coalition Framework. Others seek to make sense of how policy can occur nearly randomly by mixing together the right actors in the right places at the right times with the right policy solutions to the right policy problems. This is evidenced by Kingdon's Multiple Streams Model. Still, others are meant to be more of a heuristic device for understanding the generalities of the policy making process, such as DeLeon's Stages Heuristic. Berry and Berry's Policy Diffusion Model is frequently cast as a descriptive model for explaining policy change typically in a retrospective manner. However, this paper argues that Berry and Berry's Policy Diffusion Model can actually be used as a strategic policy process model for those wishing to instigate policy change. In the context of this case study analysis, the policy diffusion model can be used to initiate policy change in jurisdictions recalcitrant to comprehensive sex education. By identifying a jurisdiction with the least amount of resistance, and then focusing one's efforts on establishing policy change in that jurisdiction, one sets the stage for the newly accepted policy to potentially diffuse into the surrounding jurisdictions. The geographic spread of non-abstinence-only sex education programs in the State of Florida provides an example of the potential utility of the Policy Diffusion Model as a strategic tool for instigating changes in health policies in public school settings.

Learning Areas:
Administration, management, leadership
Advocacy for health and health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain multiple policy process models. 2. Evaluate the usefulness of the policy diffusion model for strategically promoting changes in health policy and policy development. 3. Design a policy change/policy development strategy that incorporates the policy diffusion model.

Keywords: Policy/Policy Development, Reproductive Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present this research because my research and scholarly activities are in public policy and public health, and I have been involved in public school education and research since 2000.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.