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Public Health Policy, Public Administration and Censorship

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization.

By Charles Mason
November 11, 2022

Public health policy is a process that guides the production of policies and programs that are intended to improve population health. Public administration is the management of government agencies, organizations and institutions. These two terms are often used interchangeably in public policy. Public health policy is essential because it helps guide the production of policies and programs intended to improve population health. While Freedoms of expression, fact-based communication and scientific critique are vital during a public health emergency, COVID-19 was born in censorship and censorship spread around the world. Significant policies concerning public health and administration were made through censorship. When bureaucrats in authority lock out other scientists and say, “I am the science,” this leads to sloppy science and hubris.

Censorship means that any information related to any topic must pass through a government filter before it can be released to the public. Censorship should ensure that only accurate and approved public health and administration information is disseminated. During the pandemic, a new kind of censorship arose, censorship by proxy. The use of social media platforms to do the government’s bidding came of age. Is this the situation that “We, the People,” want for our lives and education? There turned out to be many “experts” outside the established health community who had the facts right from the beginning but were silenced by social media and government oversight.

However, governments failed to communicate effectively during the pandemic’s initial stages. The line between acceptable and unacceptable government restrictions on rights was difficult to ascertain during the pandemic. Public health is far from only medical in nature. Health, and thus, public health emergencies and their responses involve all of society, civic life, social life, economic and political life. This understanding must be woven into the communication, research and implementation of governments, public authorities and the scientific community. Censorship of information during a pandemic could cost lives because of media restrictions. These restrictions prevented social interaction with “experts” in the field due to censorship. This turned COVID-19 into an attack on truth and did not help stimulate intellectual discussion. Take the state of New York and California’s Medical misrepresentation struggles; this may have cost many lives due to limiting Covid treatments; this is because the intolerance of different views risks stifling scientific advances. Taking the other side of your political opponent does not make you right.

The laws of nature govern today’s world. We cannot ignore or disregard them. People have evolved with the laws of nature, and the rise of technology has opened a window to the future. The future is not only a global technological society but also a global economic one. Public Health is a significant concern in both. Therefore, it is essential to be aware of public health policies and take necessary measures to curb the spread of disease. When you dedicate your career to policy and practice promoting public health, you are helping people get the resources they need to stay healthy, happy and productive in their communities.

Your profession in public health and administration allows you to collaborate with people who dictate public policy. In your position, you can use your general health and public administration knowledge to help guide public policy decisions, ensuring that policies are made in the best interests of the people who are directly affected. Working in public health administration and management means that you will have the opportunity to create change for the people and communities who need it most.

The fundamental socio-political, socio-economic and sociocultural characteristics of contemporary human societies shape how people are born, grow, live, work and age, affecting health and social distribution. Consider social determinant levels: the structural drivers that generate and distribute power, income, goods and services at global, national and local levels and the more immediate daily living conditions. This policy work happens across diverse domains and under many guises, and we should be aware of this when working in a policy domain. With appreciating this change, efforts to engage proactively and productively for better health policy and service delivery will be expanded.

Many factors drive censorship; fear was a leading cause of this last pandemic. Yet, we must decide if this is the situation that “We, the People,” want for our lives and education. Yes, we must follow science but not the scientist superstar. We can and should wait for scientific results, which will take time. Making rash decisions can cost as many, if not more, lives. Public administrators in power must admit that they need to learn more. It takes some time to figure out, so we must learn to wait and see.

Author: Charles Mason MPA, is a Doctoral Candidate at Walden University in Public Policy and Administration with a Specialization in Criminal Justice. He has over 30 plus years of experience in security, local law enforcement, state corrections and military service. He is currently president of Mason Security. He can be reached at [email protected]. Twitter: https://twitter.com/DRCharlesMason

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