Promoting Health Through Executive Orders

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Professor Max Gakh recently completed an article entitled, “Made to Order: Using Gubernatorial Executive Orders to Promote Health in All Policies,” which is published in the Chronicles of Health Impact Assessment. This article discusses how the Health in All Policies (HiAP) approach, which relies on collaborations to make health a government priority in sectors like education and transportation that make decisions with health consequences, may be bolstered through state-level executive orders.

Although state executive order authority varies across states, the article explains that state executive orders may be powerful in the HiAP context because of their potential to manage the different sectors that comprise state government and that affect the social determinants of health. By synthesizing the relevant literature and providing illustrative examples of HiAP-promoting executive orders, this paper explores how, why, and whether to use state executive orders for HiAP. It demonstrates that state executive orders may advance HiAP with or without using a HiAP label, along different steps in the policymaking cycle, and by addressing common HiAP challenges.  The article suggests that HiAP champions should examine the possible utility of executive orders to promote state-level HiAP efforts.