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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(9), 11117-11131; doi:10.3390/ijerph120911117

An Examination of Two Policy Networks Involved in Advancing Smokefree Policy Initiatives

1
George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis, CB 1196, 1 Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA
2
Center for Public Health Systems Science, George Warren Brown School of Social Work, CB 1196, Washington University in St. Louis, 1 Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Jenine K. Harris and Douglas A. Luke
Received: 1 July 2015 / Revised: 25 August 2015 / Accepted: 31 August 2015 / Published: 8 September 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Network Analysis and Public Health)
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Abstract

This study examines smokefree policy networks in two cities—Kansas City and St. Louis, Missouri—one that was successful in achieving widespread policy success, and one that was not. Descriptive social network analyses and visual network mapping were used to compare importance and contact relationships among actors involved in the smokefree policy initiatives. In Kansas City, where policy adoption was achieved, there was a higher level of connectivity among members, with network members being in contact with an average of more than five people, compared to just over two people for the St. Louis network. For both cities, despite being recognized as important, politicians were in contact with the fewest number of people. Results highlight the critical need to actively engage a variety of stakeholders when attempting city wide public health policy change. As evident by the success in smokefree policy adoption throughout Kansas City compared to St. Louis, closer linkages and continued communication among stakeholders including the media, coalitions, public health agencies, policymakers, and other partners are essential if we are to advance and broaden the impact of public health policy. Results indicate that the presence of champions, or those that play leadership roles in actively promoting policy by linking individuals and organizations, play an important role in advancing public health policy. Those working in public health should examine their level of engagement with the policy process and implement strategies for improving that engagement through relationship building and ongoing interactions with a variety of stakeholders, including policymakers. View Full-Text
Keywords: public health policy; policy networks; smokefree; social network analyses public health policy; policy networks; smokefree; social network analyses
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Moreland-Russell, S.; Carothers, B.J. An Examination of Two Policy Networks Involved in Advancing Smokefree Policy Initiatives. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 11117-11131.

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