¶ … Congress
A Universal Answer
Identify means of applying social justice for vulnerable populations that eliminate health disparities. (paper)
Audience: Policy makers in government or an organization
Describe your audience.
Describe the method of communication.
Describe the goals of the communication of what you want to accomplish.
Present the communication in a format that fits the audience- email, letter, letter to the editor of the newspaper or a response to a blog posting, etc.
Evaluate how you would know if the communication was effective.
Include documentation to support the action that you are requesting.
APA format and spelling, grammar, writing scholarly.
This letter addresses an important problem in today's society: applying social justice for vulnerable populations to eliminate health disparities. Policy in this field is debated and concluded at a Congress/legislative level, so this paper will take the form of a letter addressed to a Congressman. It is thus a generic letter that could be sent to all members of Congress. The preference for a letter has several arguments, but it is primarily related to the fact that it is a direct form of communication that links the interlocutors in a better manner than others. It also gives Congressman time to read it and increases the chances that he will receive the message, as compared to other forms, such as an email or an attempt for a direct meeting.
In terms of the characteristics of the audience, the most important is that members of Congress are extremely busy and work on different types of legislation at the same time. As a consequence, the letter has to be concise and present arguments in a manner that is easily intelligible. The goal of the communication is thus to attract the attention of the reader (the Congressman) and implement a couple of ideas in his mind for future discussions on this topic in Congress. In order to evaluate whether communication was effective, a monthly review of the Congressman's website will be done to see whether there are any legislative initiatives on this topic or any interventions as a consequence of the letter.
I hope my letter finds you well and I appreciate you taking the time to read this. I wanted to take several minutes of your busy schedule to bring to your attention a topic of particular interest for our society today: applying social justice for vulnerable populations to eliminate health disparities. I would like to briefly discuss this topic and propose several concrete actions that Congress could undertake in order to support vulnerable populations and eliminate health disparities.
Herbert Humphrey said that "the moral test of the government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of their life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadow of life the sick, the needy, and the handicapped" (Harkness & DeMarco, 2012, p. 431). I believe he was perfectly right in underscoring that the best way to evaluate a government's (both the executive and the legislative branch) actions towards the needy and the marginalized people of our society show how well the government is doing its job. On a grander scale, the way we treat others reflects how much we value life.
It is difficult to put a value on human life and it is not a literary compromise to say that life is often priceless. However, it is important for all of us to sometimes look beyond our pwn secure life, a life of central air conditioning, clean water, good nutrition, and access to healthcare, and into the life of the impoverished and dying. This life, so different from ours, is often a world of injustice and inequity, a world where a young woman could lay dying because of lack of access to healthcare and where the issue of insurance often draws the line...
In a concrete case, a Guatemalan refugee who speaks little English hides his desperation and asks God for help for his sick wife, only because we, his own fellow human beings, cannot do more to help him.
The issue of access to proper healthcare, Congressman, goes beyond lack of insurance. Swartz (2009) has rightly pointed out that poor people face many more barriers in accessing healthcare and medical care. Quite often, it is often a lack of education and inadequate knowledge that prevents individuals from making informed decisions. Sometimes, people do not know how to properly explain their symptoms to physicians and cultural differences are also an occasional issue in access to healthcare. Beyond strict income issues, these are also elements to take into consideration.
Dear Congressman, as you can perceive, lack of access to healthcare worsens the condition of many patients, with significant negative consequence on the individuals, their families, the community and our society overall. The impact on the latter cannot be underestimated: quite often, because a lack of access to healthcare in the first stages of the illness, the overall cost that we need to support to have that patient treated is much bigger than it should be. With a better commitment to solving the issue of access to healthcare for low income and other marginalized group, we could lower societal costs for healthcare, to the benefit of all.
With this in mind, I believe we need to change the structure of healthcare so that it does not leave out impoverished families and in a way that it efficiently addresses all the barriers I have previously discussed. Thus, I am writing to you, Congressman, in order to give you a better understanding of the healthcare system today, and with the hope that my words may reach people and may lead to action on your side. I would like you to understand this from my own perspective as a nurse working within the healthcare system, a nurse who cares about humanity and the suffering of others and wants to help. In this context, I want to discuss with you the "health capability paradigm."
This is a framework design theory that incorporates health and social justice. The theory states "all people should have access to the means to avoid premature death and preventable morbidity." (Rugar, 2010, p. 224).This theory "incorporates the philosophical, economic and political, that all societies (through public -- private partnerships) can design and build effective organizations and systems to achieve health capabilities" (Rugar, 2010, p. 224).
Health capability "enables us to understand the conditions that facilitate barriers that impede health and the ability to make health decisions" (Rugar, 2010, p. 2). Rugar analyzes several fundamental "why" problems including why it is so difficult for some populations or individuals to translate health resources into health outcomes and why some individuals are harmed or helped by cultural norms about health behaviors? (Rugar, 2010, p. 1). Health capability measures how well people can act as agents of their own health by assessing their abilities, skills, habits, and beliefs. "It does not just measure individual health; it also factors in situations and conditions that determine a person's health" (Rugar, 2010).
The health of a person encompasses his or her personal beliefs, values, and health related goals as well as the ability to recognize damaging behaviors and the external factors that form the framework of a person.
There are also internal factors at work within a person; for example, health conditions like HIV or diabetes, along with how the person states they feel and their emotional and mental well-being. A person's general information about health, diet, preventative care, and disease processes, as well as their knowledge base on where to receive information about their disease processes or modes of transmission all affect well-being. A child that is growing up with intolerance, poverty, and hunger…
Fukuda, S.P. (2001). The human development paradigm: Operationalizing Sen's ideas on capabilities. Feminist economics, 9(2 -- 3), 301-317. Abstract retrieved from http://www.ibero.edu.mx/humanismocristiano/seminario_capability/pdf/11.pdf
Harkness, G.A., & Demarco, R.F. (2012). Community and public health nursing evidence for practice. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Rugar, J.P. (2010). WHO | Health and social justice - World Health Organization. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/89/1/10-082388/en/_br
Swartz, Katherine, (2009). Health care for the poor: For whom, what care, and whose responsibility? Retrieved from http://www.irp.wisc.edu/publications/focus/pdfs/foc262l.pdf
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