Social Policy Committee Name Change

By Blair Coleman – March 12, 2009
OfflineBlair Coleman

We've had some important decisions to make about our structure. We are a novel hybrid organization within SCRA. We have valuable committee status and a valued body of working members who want a close involvement with our policy work. We also have a large group of folks who desire a deeper policy involvement in the form of updates on committee activities and information on internal and external policy opportunities. It is the job of the Committee to provide resources and serve the interests of the larger policy community. We were previously calling this latter group the policy interest group; however, this is not appropriate according to the definition in the SCRA bylaws (interest groups are not affiliated with a committee). So, we needed a new name to accurately describe our structure. Since we serve a community within SCRA, community members seemed most appropriate. So, we welcome our "interest group" to membership in the first SCRA community! This real-world community organizing structure has proved very successful and we hope it will provide a valuable model for other SCRA committees.

As part of establishing policy for our community, we a proposed a change to the name of the Social Policy Committee. This was approved by the EC at the midwinter meeting and we are now officially the Public Policy Committee. The rational for this comes from the definition of public policy within SCRA and in the larger policy community. Public policy can be understood as a deliberate course of action that affects the people as a whole, now and in the future. (Cordray & Morphy, 2007). As you can see, this definition is broad and while the term public policy does have traditional undertones of a government-level intervention, our definition does not distinguish between governmental and non-governmental policies. The Policy Committee feels that a more inclusive definition may be more representative of the types of policy activities in which SCRA members participate. Therefore, we prefer a name reflecting interventions at all levels of governing bodies and local organizations (such as SCRA). Public policy can also originate from the constituent base or decision-makers (grassroots organizing or interactions with institutions). Considering the interconnectedness implicit in all social systems, it is misleading to compartmentalize policy as strictly top-down or bottom-up, and thus we prefer a more general notion of public policy.

We have only scratched the surface of the exciting developments and opportunities becoming available in public policy through the hard work of our Committee & Community members.  Please stay tuned to one of these communication channels for up-to-date policy information.

Committee Members

Nicole Porter, Chair

Steve Howe, Co-Chair

Judah Viola, Chair-Elect/Brief Coordinator

Steve Pokorny, Chair-Emeritus

Leonard Jason, Committee Advisor/ First SCRA Distinguished Policy Award Recipient

Aaron Boulton, Student Representative

Blair Coleman, Government Relations Liaison

Nancy Bothne, Curriculum Coordinator

Jennifer Mortenson, General Counsel Liaison

Darrin Aase, Policy Outreach Consultant

Claudia Feldhaus, Policies and Procedures Coordinator

Steve Rogers, Public Policy Intern


About the author

Blair Coleman

Blair Coleman is a graduate student at the University of Florida in the department of Health Education and Behavior. She has research background and interest in epidemiology of chronic illnesses,…


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March 12, 2009
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Blair Coleman

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