First Advisor

Stephanie Ann Farquhar

Term of Graduation

Spring 2008

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Public Administration and Policy


Public Administration




Income, Medical policy, Population policy, Qualitative research



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, v, 188 pages)


A growing body of research reveals the determinants of population health to be social, political and economic, yet health policy in the United States remains largely individualistic (Evans, Barer, & Marmor, 1994). At the same time research is revealing these structural determinants of health, measures of population health in the United States are worsening in comparison to other developed countries (Bezruchka, 2001). Explanations for this include the influence of culture, medical, public health and governmental institutions and historic development and processes on health policy. Researchers hold to a view of the policy process that is informed by science, yet policy may be informed by research only insofar as it conforms to existing ideas. Policymakers' decisions may be influenced as much by governmental institutions and the constraints of culture and political ideology as they are by compelling research. Even so, policies do change although many policy researchers contend that they can change only if associated ideas can be readily found in the policy arena. In this conception, it is ideas, not credible research, that are key to changing policy. In order to understand the translation of population health research into policy, this study attempts to explain the presence, nature and character of population health ideas, and influences upon them, in the American policy arena for the purpose of translating research into policy and ultimately to improve population health. Grounded theory methods were employed to explore population health ideas in the policy arena, to produce substantive theory in the American policy context, and to test an extension of a theory of health policy previously developed in Britain.


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