Policy Directors: Olivia Di Giulio and Ethan Johanson

Advocacy Director: Elizabeth Nguyen


The Public Health Policy sector focuses on the health and wellbeing of society. Especially when affecting the entire human population, public health in aspects of COVID-19 and other epidemics, mental health, and healthcare accessibility and affordability among many other topics are essential to maintaining health and quality of life. 

1. COVID-19 Student mental health (SMH) response plan

May 2020

The Public Health Policy Team’s first policy paper addresses the exacerbated mental health afflictions high school students are prone to experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 crisis and social distancing mandates. Given that many high school students’ primary mental health resources came from their temporarily closed schools, the policy advocates for the facilitation of a partnership with Virginia counties to both provide students access to mental health resources. To accomplish these goals, the policy promotes the implementation of MindWise Innovations’ Signs of Suicide (SOS) Prevention Program, which incorporates a student training, guided discussion, and depression screening. Additionally, the policy calls for the administration of Red Cross’s COVID-19-specific Psychological First Aid Training for faculty, equipping them foster an environment of mental wellness in their classrooms, identify signs of poor mental health in students, and subsequently connect students with proper counseling resources.

2. Time for 9 toolkit

July 2020

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, public health disparities among minority groups have been shown by how the virus is disproportionately impacting minority groups. Not only is COVID-19 exacerbating the systematic racial disparities in the American healthcare system, but it is also targeting those who are socioeconomically disadvantaged. To most efficiently aid minority and low income communities, a combination of factors that each contribute to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 must be addressed. The Time For 9 Toolkit aims to empower elected officials to effectively address these inequities by uplifting successful models of equity focused testing protocols, community-government partnerships, and resource allocation in cities and states across the country. 

3. Interpreter Services for Limited English  Speakers (ISLES)

October 2020

The expanding number of languages spoken across Virginia, the significant increase in Medicaid enrollees in Virginia over the past four years, and the lack of accountability concerning Medicaid standards of linguistic equity as outlined in Title VI convergently illuminate a stark need for interpreter service reimbursement reform within Virginia’s Medicaid framework. The ISLES plan encourage DMAS (Department of Medical Assistance Services) to recommend that MCOs (Managed Care Organizations) hire certified medical interpreters and compile a list of certifications and language proficiency exams that would affirm an interpreter’s value to a MCO. Our policy also calls for DMAS to reimburse MCOs for costs related to translation and interpretation services. 

© 2020 by The Greater Good Initiative.

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