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Public Health and Public Policies: similar but different fields

Abstract

This article deals with the issue of how studies on public policies can contribute to understand institutions, actors and processes related to public health policies. It is grounded on the fact that many studies tend to describe and/or analyze public health policies. However, few use the theoretical tools of public policy analysis, which is a broad field of knowledge already widespread in Brazil. In this regard, this paper aims to encourage the interdisciplinary debate between these fields - public health and public policy -, which are understood as conceptually and empirically complementary, but still distant from the national literature on public health. The article briefly reviews the “public policies cycle” literature and points out that it was insufficiently considered by national health policy studies. This was demonstrated through the analysis of articles published in the Saúde e Sociedade journal between 2005 and 2015 (627 articles were analyzed). The article ends with a discussion about the paths and challenges for a rapprochement between the two fields.

Keywords:
Public Policies; Public Health; Interdisciplinarity

Faculdade de Saúde Pública, Universidade de São Paulo. Associação Paulista de Saúde Pública. Av. dr. Arnaldo, 715, Prédio da Biblioteca, 2º andar sala 2, 01246-904 São Paulo - SP - Brasil, Tel./Fax: +55 11 3061-7880 - São Paulo - SP - Brazil
E-mail: saudesoc@usp.br