USciences’ motto is “proven everywhere.” One reason why the “proven everywhere” motto makes sense for USciences is because we teach students, and professors themselves use scientific research as the basis for teaching and scholarship. One such area is the Health Policy Program at Mayes College of Healthcare Business & Policy. Health policy is the investigation of problems in health (not just healthcare and its delivery) in its broadest sense using scientific methods of study to develop evidence-based recommendations for changes and innovations in policy. One challenge is that policymakers sometimes eschew data and evidence when making policy; rather, they are sometimes drawn to its opposite – anecdotes – heart wrenching stories from constituents.
When data and evidence alone fail to inform policy, another option that is available is to make the best possible case for particular policies using the force of ethical argumentation. In this regard, evidence and data receive bolstering through analysis of the very values that undergird health and provide exhortation for particular policy approaches. This is the case with some recent work undertaken by Health Policy Ph.D. candidate Janna Manjelievskaia, MPH and Visiting Assistant Professor, David Perlman, Ph.D.
Janna was working with colleagues on a paper examining the policy issues associated with the current U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations against testicular cancer screening. She suggested to her colleagues that perhaps the paper could be enhanced with an ethical angle. She asked Dr. Perlman, one of her professors who focuses on ethics in health policy and public health, to join in writing the paper, which was recently published in the American Journal of Men’s Health and presented at their conference. The lead author of the paper, Michael Rovito, Ph.D., an Assistant Professor at the University of Central Florida, was recently was interviewed by STAT about the importance of testicular self-examination. The paper, and the power of its ethical argument and coupled with careful, scientific examination of policy, are gaining traction with policymakers, which should hopefully result in a policy change by the USPSTF to change its current recommendation against testicular cancer screening. When that happens, it will be yet another instance of how USciences research and students are “proven everywhere.”
David Perlman, PhD
Janna Manjelievskaia, MPH