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FREE online training course – A framework for analyzing public policies

Constructing a Logic Model for a Healthy Public Policy: Why and How?
669 K

A Framework for Analyzing Public Policies – Practical Guide
643 K

Method for Synthesizing Knowledge About Public Policies
  323 K

What Works for Health: Policies and Programs that can Improve Health  - A directory of short descriptions of different public policies. Each summarizes the data about the policy's effectiveness and provides a few indications about its implementation and its impact on inequalities. On the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps site (USA).

Prevention Policy Directory. A regularly updated, searchable inventory of Canadian policies as well as legal instruments (legislation, regulations, codes). The Directory is on Cancerview Canada.

How can the health equity impact of universal policies be evaluated? Insights into approaches and next steps
6.26 MB. Milton, B., et al. (Eds.) (2011). On the site of the World Health Organization. 

Practitioner opinions on health promotion interventions that work: Opening the “black box” of a linear evidence-based approach. Kok, M., et al. (2012). Social Science and Medicine, 74, 715-723. doi:10.1016/j. socscimed.2011.11.021   Abstract on the site PubMed.

Assessing equity in systematic reviews: realising the recommendations of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health. Tugwell, P., et al. (2010). BMJ 2010; 341: bmj.c4739. On the site of the BMJ.

Real world reviews: A beginner's guide to undertaking systematic reviews of public health policy interventions. Bambra, C. (2009). Abstract available on the site the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. doi:10.1136/jech.2009.088740 

Conceptualizing and Combining Evidence for Health System Guidance.  By Lomas, J., et al. (2005). Canadian Health Services Research Foundation (CHSRF). On the site of the CHSRF

Systematic reviews in social policy: To go foward, do we first need to look back? By Pearson, M. 2007. In Evidence & Policy : A Journal of Research, Debate and Practice, 3 (4) pp. 505-526. Abstract on the site of ingentaConnect.

Florence Morestin

Example 1: Presenting the Results of an Intervention for Controlling Ragweed to Municipal Policy Makers
March 2018. Description.
Translation of an example presented by Elisabeth Masson
Head of Professional Coordination, Environmental Health Team 
Centre Intégré de Santé et de Services Sociaux de la Montérégie-Centre, Direction de santé publique [Integrated health and social services centre for Montérégie-Centre, public health authority]

Context of use

The pollen of ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia), a highly allergenic plant that is native to North America, affects 12% of the population of Québec, in regions where the plant is classified as abundant. This plant cannot be eradicated, but can be controlled through human intervention aimed at reducing the amount of pollen released into the air. 
But what is the impact of such intervention on the health and the quality of life of those who are allergic? Whose responsibility is it to intervene with respect to the plant? Is acting alone effective or is it preferable to take collective action, for example at the scale of a municipality? 

After more than twenty years of information and mobilization efforts by the public health network aimed at controlling this plant, it had become imperative to renew advocacy, based on new evidence, in favour of collective and targeted action. The anticipated positive results of a research project offered an opportunity to prompt the mobilization of collective action targeting this public health issue, mainly by the municipal sector and by major private and public land owners. To obtain these results, the environmental health team at the Direction de santé publique de la Montérégie [the Montérégie public health authority] teamed up with researchers in the field of weed science at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) to conduct a study between 2007 and 2010, to assess the health effects of the concerted management of ragweed by partners within a municipality. At the same time, AAFC demonstrated that a simple intervention (the cutting of plants) carried out at precise times resulted in considerably reducing the amount of pollen released into the air. The evidence gathered through our rigorous scientific research process was meant to provide the strong foundation needed to promote the implementation of a municipal policy for controlling the allergenic plant.

Possessed of these conclusive results, we used the NCCHPP's analytical framework to translate the results into a more suitable format for more effectively reaching the target audience, namely municipal policy makers in Québec.  Several of the NCCHPP's dimensions for analyzing public policies match up with those of municipal administrations. 

Adaptations made

One of the study's collaborators, from the municipal sector, summed up the main questions asked by a public administrator or an elected official, when faced with choices concerning ragweed management, as follows: Is it feasible for the municipality to do this? Does it work? How much will it cost the municipality? Thus, the order in which the dimensions appear in the framework was modified to reflect the logic of a municipal policy maker faced with a choice.
Ultimately, five of the framework's dimensions remained unchanged while another was adapted (Unintended effects was replaced by Unexpected effects) in favour of a term that would be more evocative for the target audience.

Data collection methods

The NCCHPP's analytical framework was not used for our data collection, but rather for the presentation of the results. For details on the data collection methods used in the context of our project, please see the scientific summary referenced under the section heading To learn more.

Lessons learned

Our study lent itself well to the use of the NCCHPP's analytical framework. Synthesizing the data on the effects produced by the project (soon to result in a municipal policy!) proved relatively simple given their scientific robustness.  

Part of the added value of the NCCHPP's analytical framework is, without a doubt, that it enables data from a study to be transposed into a flexible framework "that speaks" to municipal policy makers. This framework functions more or less as a simple and adaptable vehicle for communicating with the target audience. 
For purposes of knowledge transfer, we used it to produce an informative brochure featuring input from all the project's partners, which was distributed to all Québec municipalities. Each section of the brochure corresponds to one of the dimensions of the analytical framework (to consult the brochure, please refer to the link under the section heading To learn more).
I consider this analytical framework to be an indispensable tool when we need to analyze a municipal policy. In the field of environmental health, it is unusual to use such an approach. And yet we have much to gain from its use since this approach allows us to "reframe" our message to highlight the essentials, the essentials that policy makers want to know!

Impact on public policies, programs and/or interventions

The project led to significant advances in knowledge about how to manage ragweed which reinforced the relevance of managing this plant at the scale of municipalities. The project helped underpin the implementation of the Stratégie québécoise de réduction des pollens allergènes 2015-2017, Québec's strategy for reducing pollen allergens. This interdepartmental strategy is based on evidence from a series of recent studies. Its aim is to mobilize Québec authorities, including those at the municipal level, to take action to reduce the health impacts associated with pollen allergens, mainly from ragweed. A funding program has been established to support the implementation of municipal plans for managing ragweed.

To learn more:

  • Brochure intended for municipal policy makers which relies on the NCCHPP's analytical framework:

    Direction de santé publique de la Montérégie, Agriculture et agroalimentaire Canada, & Ministère de la santé et des services sociaux du Québec. (2011). Réduire le pollen de l'herbe à poux : mission réaliste —Le succès d'une communauté mobilisée. Longueuil, Canada: Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de la Montérégie. Retrieved from:

  • Scientific summary of the project:

    Direction de santé publique de la Montérégie, Agriculture et agroalimentaire Canada, & Ministère de la santé et des services sociaux du Québec. (2012). Projet herbe à poux 2007-2010 – Résumé scientifique - Phase 1 - Évaluation de l'efficacité d'un projet de mobilisation pour la lutte contre l'herbe à poux sur la qualité de vie des personnes allergiques. Retrieved from:

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. (2011). The effects of cutting on pollen and seed production in ragweed. Retrieved from:

The production of the NCCHPP website has been made possible through a financial contribution from the Public Health Agency of Canada.