Developed by Seabourne Consulting, experts in An Introduction to Policy, Systems, and Environmental (PSE) Change

An Introduction to Policy, Systems, and Environmental (PSE) Change

Photo on Unsplash by Clint Adair


We know that well-being is created in the places where we live, work, learn, and play. Our ability to make healthy choices is dictated by the conditions of those places—conditions that persist over generations and that we need to be healthy and well. Policy, Systems, and Environmental (PSE) change can positively influence health by improving community conditions. PSE change has gained momentum in recent years, and many funders are requiring PSE strategies in grant work plans, partially because PSE changes often stretch beyond the benefits of programs to create lasting, population-level impact. 


The table below illustrates the distinct characteristics of programs versus Policy, Systems, and Environmental (PSE) approaches.

Source: The Food Trust 

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Moving from Programs to Policy, Systems, and Environmental Changes
Resource - Webinar
Brought to you by HRIA
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Policy, Systems, and Environmental Change Resource Guide
Resource - Guide/handbook
Brought to you by CCCNP
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The Six Conditions of Systems Change
Resource - Webinar
Brought to you by Collective Impact Forum
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An Introduction to Thinking in Systems
Resource - Webinar
Brought to you by CDC
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What Is Policy, Systems and Environmental (PSE) Change?
Resource
Brought to you by The Food Trust
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PSE 101: Building Healthier Communities through Policy, Systems and Environmental Change
Resource - Webinar
Brought to you by ChangeLab Solutions
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Macomb County keeping people healthy 2017-18
Story - Written
Brought to you by Michigan State University

Let's unpack Policy, Systems, and Environmental (PSE) change.

Policy Change

Policies are written statements created and adopted by organizations, agencies, and stakeholders, and are intended to achieve specific health goals. Policy change is a tool used by communities across the country to improve population health by advancing initiatives that can affect the behaviors of entire populations more efficiently than other tools.


Importantly, policies to advance well-being are not limited to formal policy passed through (local, state, or federal) legislation. In fact, often policy change is more feasible at the organizational level. For example, a school policy that places restrictions on unhealthy food and beverage marketing in schools reduces exposure and consumption of unhealthy food in school cafeterias. Businesses, neighborhoods, and institutions have capacity to implement important policies that advance equitable well-being.



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What is Policy?
Resource - Guide/handbook
Brought to you by ChangeLab Solutions
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5 Ways Public Policy Impacts Health
Resource - Blog
Brought to you by The Sycamore Institute
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Utah New Roots Food Access Program
Story - Written
Brought to you by GW Cancer Center
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Getting Started With Policy Change
Resource - Guide/handbook
Brought to you by CHR&R
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Systems Change

Systems change involves transforming and redesigning the practices and structures within organizations, institutions, or networks to promote better health outcomes. Systems change addresses problems on a fundamental level and often works hand-in-hand with policy change. An example of a systems change is the creation of a Farm-to-School initiative that creates processes to rebuild healthy food systems in school by serving local produce in the cafeteria and instituting food education opportunities in the classroom. 

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Food Procurement as an Opportunity to Improve Local Food Systems
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
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Local Laws and Policies That Promote Access To Healthy Food: A Food System Crosswalk
Resource
Brought to you by Healthy Food Policy Project
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Community Approaches to Systems Change
Resource - Blog
Brought to you by de Beaumont Foundation Inc.
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Systems
Resource - Website/webpage
Brought to you by GW Cancer Center
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Fostering Systems Change
Story - Written
Brought to you by SSIR

Environmental Change

Environmental change involves transforming the economic, social, or physical contexts in the lived-environment that affect health outcomes. Environmental change strategies are often used in conjunction with other strategies to improve population health. Examples of environmental change include increasing the number of community garden plots on vacant land to grow community engagement and improve food security, and changing organizational procedures to include weekend clinic hours or to provide free wellness courses for the patient population. 

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Advancing Equitable Food Environments
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
Published on 08/22/2017
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What Impact Does the Environment Have on Us?
Resource
Brought to you by University of Minnesota Foundation
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Establishing Protections for Community Gardens
Resource - Fact Sheet
Brought to you by ChangeLab Solutions