Melissa Doug is a senior policy analyst at the Centre for Food-Borne, Environmental and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases at the Public Health Agency of Canada. She has been tasked with preparing Question Period (QP) notes for the Minister of Health. She has very little time to prepare a clear, succinct, and jargon-free note by 8:30 a.m. for the Director’s approval. Once the note is approved, the Director will forward it to the Minster of Health with an update on the status of activities being undertaken for the Action Plan on Lyme Disease. The QP note also includes an update on the upcoming roundtable discussion with stakeholders as part of the Lyme disease engagement strategy. Melissa has been working on Lyme disease policy for more than four years and her team’s energy and efforts will come to fruition during this roundtable discussion.
Lyme disease is a rapidly growing public health challenge in Canada. The absence of a consolidated national response to Lyme disease led to the Federal Framework on Lyme Disease Act, which mandated the Minister of Health to call a national conference on the issue. The Public Health Agency of Canada developed the federal Action Plan on Lyme Disease on behalf of the Minister of Health. The Action Plan is based on three pillars—surveillance, education and awareness, and guidelines and best practices. Developing the plan requires comprehensive consultation with all stakeholder groups to ensure that diverse perspectives in policy development and implementation are incorporated. Stakeholder engagement in the implementation process is key to addressing the specific needs of at-risk groups and narrowing the gaps in current practices at the policy level.
The purpose of this case is to underscore the importance of stakeholder analysis and management in defining future policy directions and successful program implementation. Incorporating the real-world perspectives of diverse stakeholders is an essential component of an effective policy-making process.
1. Develop strategies for stakeholder identification to inform population-based policies.
2. Analyze the significance of various stakeholder analysis techniques in order to address emerging public health issues.
3. Construct a map of relevant stakeholders on an interest–influence matrix for a structured approach to stakeholder analysis.
4. Practice compiling evidence to synthesize policy brief communication with imperfect and incomplete information regarding emerging infectious diseases.
5. Appraise the value of building partnerships to advocate for evidence-informed policies.
Case Study Questions
1. What is the role of evidence-based research in policy development?
2. What are the facilitators and barriers of stakeholder engagement activities?
3. How does stakeholder engagement facilitate the implementation of an action plan?
4. What are the various characteristics of the stakeholders interested in Lyme disease engagement strategy?
5. Can international guidelines regarding emerging vector-borne infections be used to inform best practice guidelines in Canada?
6. How does the federal government perspective on Lyme disease differ from that of nonfederal and other external organizational perspectives? How does it impact stakeholder engagement?
Communication; federal framework; Lyme disease; policy development; stakeholder analysis
Zain, S., Deilgat, M. & Thind, A. (2019). Policy Window - When Lyme is in the Limelight. In: Sibbald, S.L. & McKinley, G. [eds] Western Public Health Casebook 2019. London, ON: Public Health Casebook Publishing.