Cutting Through the Red Tape: Applying Public Policy Implementation Theory to Current Research – UROP Symposium

Cutting Through the Red Tape: Applying Public Policy Implementation Theory to Current Research

Pearl Steenstra

Research Mentor(s): Shawna Smith
Program: CCSFP
Authors: Pearl Steenstra, AA, Alex Ammann, MPH, Shawna Smith, PhD, Kendall Mosher, BS, Amy Rusch, PhD Candidate


Public policy encompasses the law, which extends across all of society, spans across multiple disciplines, and is an essential medium for problems to be addressed (Kilpatrick, 2000; What is Public Policy, n.d.). Numerous scholars and researchers such as John Kingdon, Brank Baumgartner and Bryan Jones, and Lucie Cerna have attempted to answer the question, “How is public policy changed and implemented?” Although answers to this question are still being debated, John Kingdon’s model seems to provide a working framework on how the agenda of public policy is set (Howlett, 2019; Kingdon, n.d.). In order to hypothesize feasible strategies to use for passing public policy related to mental health resources in underserved/overlooked communities (like community colleges), I will be applying John Kingdon’s model of Policy Change along with other elements of differing theories that are relevant to the context and policy area (Cerna, 2013). Furthermore, public policy from California and Illinois that address health in post-secondary institutions shall be investigated and used as case studies to hypothesize how MHICC may potentially create similar legislation in Michigan.

The results or conclusions of this study are unknown, as research is still taking place. So far, there are numerous potential causes and reasons for how public policy is passed. Rather than focusing on a general scope of public policy, it seems the case studies of public policy that address mental health concerns in post-secondary institutions in California and Illinois seem essential in drawing an accurate conclusion and implications for passing similar legislation in Michigan.

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