Op-Ed Assignment Guide Introduction The last few weeks we have talked extensively about the public health approach to health and disease and the significance of the ecological model. One of the points emphasized was the importance of intervening at all levels of the social-ecological model. Op-eds are an excellent way to raise awareness of public health issues at many levels. They can be “published” in organizational newsletters, community newspapers, or online, and are one effective form of “agenda setting.” Effective arguments will also influence individual readers. The purpose of this op-ed assignment is to give you a chance to research a particular public health issue and to justify a specific opinion about that topic. The goal is to provide you with an opportunity to practice justifying positions that are controversial. This will provide you with a chance to improve your persuasive writing and argumentation skills, which will be very beneficial to you as a public health practitioner or researcher. Learning Objectives 1. To describe the significance of a particular public health issue 2. To identify and interpret supporting evidence for a public health issue 3. To build logical, evidence-based arguments to support a position on a controversial public health topic 4. To recommend a specific action point for improving public health, using an ecological perspective 5. To communicate effectively with the public about public health issues 6. To practice persuasive and professional writing skills Topic Choices (you must argue for one of the following positions) 1. All public school employees should be required to get an annual flu vaccine. 2. Federal monetary incentives for “abstinence-only” sex education should be revoked. 3. Government-run supermarkets should be established in communities in which at least 15% of households report low or very low food security. 4. Imposing regulations to limit the child-targeted marketing and sales practices of the fast food industry in the US would significantly reduce childhood obesity rates. Required Op-Ed Structure (please review lecture for additional detail) Cover Page: Include your assignment title, name, section number, word count, date, and the topic you chose Paragraph 1: Introduction: Description of the issue, why it is controversial, and why people should care about it Position: Statement of your specific position Paragraph 2: Argument 1: First reason your position is correct (including logical argument and evidence) Paragraph 3: Argument 2: Second reason your position is correct (including logical argument and evidence) Paragraph 4: Response to opposition: The most common argument your opposition would give and why they are wrong (including logical argument and evidence) Paragraph 5: Summary: Implications of the arguments you have presented Specific recommendation: What you believe is the next, specific step forward in addressing the Issue Final Op-Ed • The final assignment must be between 500-1000 words long (not including cover page or reference list). Longer or shorter assignments will have points deducted or may not be accepted for credit, at the discretion of the instructor • The file you upload to Blackboard should be a Word document named “LastnameFinalOped.doc” or “LastnameFinalOped.docx” Overall Requirements for Draft and Final Assignments 1. Submit the assignments on time 2. Stay within the word limit (the reference list and cover page are NOT included) NOTE: Assignments over 1000 words will have points deducted and those over 1100 words may not be accepted for credit, at the discretion of the instructor 3. Follow the required, 5-paragraph op-ed structure (above) 4. Formatting: • Please use 1” margins and 12-point font in Arial, Verdana, or Times New Roman • Cover page should include op-ed title, student name, word count, date, course section, and chosen topic • After the cover page, please include only a page number in the bottom right-hand corner of each page 5. Use proper grammar, spelling, and mechanics, and effective sentence structure and word choice 6. Use a professional and persuasive tone (see lectures) 7. Include at least three references • At least 2 must be scholarly • At least 2 must be current within 3 years • Use APA 6th edition format (http://www.apastyle.org/) for in-text citations and reference list ONLY (please do not use APA formatting guidelines for margins, font, header, etc.) Show quoted text


Flu Vaccine

Student’s Name

Institution Affiliation


Date of Submission


Every year within the United States, close to 300,000 people are typically being hospitalized for influenza-associated diseases, and as estimated by the centers for disease control and prevention, influenza-related deaths vary from a low of close to 3,500 to a high of close to 50,000 individuals per year in America. Moreover, this ailment has been evaluated to be the primary cause of 80 million lost working days and $7 billion in wasted productivity within the United States every year (Kumar et al. 2013). In schools, educators and the employees can be of more significant help in reducing some of the respiratory diseases such as colds and influenza; thus, there is the need for all the public school workers to engage in annual influenza vaccine. Various individuals ought to embrace this position as vaccination is the only practical means of preventing influenza and other serious ailments and loss of lives from influenza infection. Since 2010, the advisory committee on immunization practices has always recommended yearly influenza vaccination for all persons aged seven months and above within the United States. Moreover, public schools have typically emerged as potential centers of influenza outbreaks as result of their large population, regular contact and interaction with the society.

Close to 8 million individuals within the United States are employed, and over 70 million learners are enrolled in close to 140,000 public schools across the states. Public schools have the potentiality of emerging as areas of influenza outbreaks due to their large population, a high degree of close social interactions and contacts within students from different social backgrounds. Typically, school surroundings impose teachers, recruits, administration, employees, and students in danger of influenza infection and constant transmission to other people outside the school surrounding (Lee et al. 2010). It is only through vaccination process of public school workers that will assist in safeguarding close to a fifth of the nation’s population from influenza and other people from various institutions. In 2013, the national organization for occupational safety and health officially received a health hazard assessment notification from an uptown school district located in Ohio. The region needed help in outlining the 2013 influenza vaccination exposure among workers in the school district, evaluating workers knowledge and concerns towards the vaccination process, and highlighting factors typically associated with the acceptance and denial of the vaccine. Therefore, it is essential that all public workers should receive a yearly annual flu vaccine.

It also significant to acknowledge that influenza seasons in schools are always not easy to predict due to a number of reasons even though a majority of flu activity typically takes place every year, the timing relies on several factors including the type of flu viruses spreading. The strategic timing of flu at times vary from one season to the other; in the United States, seasonal flu operations most commonly rise between March and December (Rebmann et al. 2012). These are some of the reasons why all public school workers need to be vaccinated so that they are protected at all time without being caught unaware. Influenza viruses are typically spread mainly from one individual to the other through coughs and sneezes from the infected people. Less often, public school workers are exposed to a large number of students from various social backgrounds with different health issues thus for their health safety; it is always essential that they get vaccinated against flu. A person can also get the influenza virus through contact with surfaces or objects that has flu virus on it and then goes ahead to touch their nose, eyes, and mouth.

However, the issue of influenza vaccination to all the public school workers has not been approved by all people more so from the position. They, however, recommend that these employees should adopt the wearing of mask and gloves while carrying out their daily duties as a strategy towards eradicating flu. This process is not efficient as it does not help in preventing the spread of germs and also discriminatory as this will not create a harmonious learning environment for the students. Consequently, people still have to get in contact with various things in their environment with or without gloves and yet flu virus will even get around and affect students together with the workers (Glezen et al. 2010). Therefore, it is not recommended that public school employees can resolve into using gloves and masks as a way of dealing with influenza virus and if an unvaccinated person decides to use covers and cloves in schools, then it is likely that he or she will wear them anytime he or she is in a public place. Therefore, this is not the correct strategy of dealing with the influenza virus in public schools where teachers, students, and other stakeholders get exposed to the risks of getting affected.

In summary, the only general techniques of preventing the spread of flu in public schools include vaccination of learners, faculty, and employees. Moreover, there should be a hand hygiene, cough manners, monitoring students for any signs of respiratory illness, and encourage sick workers and learners to stay at home. However, vaccination is the only practical method that will prevent fatal disease and death from flu infection.



Glezen, W. P., Gaglani, M. J., Kozinetz, C. A., & Piedra, P. A. (2010). Direct and indirect effectiveness of influenza vaccination delivered to children at school preceding an epidemic caused by 3 new influenza virus variants. The Journal of infectious diseases202(11), 1626-1633.

Kumar, S., Grefenstette, J. J., Galloway, D., Albert, S. M., & Burke, D. S. (2013). Policies to reduce influenza in the workplace: impact assessments using an agent-based model. American journal of public health103(8), 1406-1411.

Lee, B. Y., Brown, S. T., Cooley, P. C., Zimmerman, R. K., Wheaton, W. D., Zimmer, S. M., … & Burke, D. S. (2010). A computer simulation of employee vaccination to mitigate an influenza epidemic. American journal of preventive medicine38(3), 247-257.

Rebmann, T., Elliott, M. B., Reddick, D., & Swick, Z. D. (2012). US school/academic institution disaster and pandemic preparedness and seasonal influenza vaccination among school nurses. American journal of infection control40(7), 584-589.


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