|Folklore and Health Policy Working Group|
The individuals and communities that folklorists study have beliefs, values, and practices regarding their health that are affected in various ways by policies imposed from above. These policies often run counter to the values and goals of their intended beneficiaries, and in addition have unintended consequences that may be detrimental. Folklorists have the opportunity to better inform health policies through their fieldwork and scholarship in ways that will improve the well- being of these local communities and their members. The field of folklore has a responsibility to include this work among its activities.
In July 2008, five folklorists who work in the area of health policy (Erika Brady, Bonnie O’Connor, Diane Goldstein, Michael Owen Jones, and David Hufford) met in Columbus, Ohio, at the invitation of the AFS Executive Board to discuss ways in which the field could develop its contributions to the field of health policy, and to develop a series of products that a) will articulate the contributions that folklorists have made to the development, implementation, and evaluation of public policy in health care fields; and b) will highlight specific future areas of application of folklorists’ perspectives and work to health care public policy issues. The group also led a discussion forum on this work at the 2008 annual meeting in Louisville.
At present, the group is working toward completion of a jointly authored article (tentatively titled "Local Knowledge in Health Policy: An Unmet Need") for publication in a health policy journal.