Dr. Stephanie Smith is an Associate Professor in the Center for Public Administration and Policy, School of Public and International Affairs at Virginia Tech.
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Global health agenda setting research tends to focus on authoritative and other highly resourced actors, contributing to knowledge gaps and power imbalances among stakeholders. Toward fuller multi-stakeholder representation, this study uses an arenas model to refine concepts and approaches to analyzing priorities within transnational civil society, an arena that is often depoliticized in global health. Straddling the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the two-stage study probes insights from experts based in Central and South America, Sub-Saharan Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and North America and analyzes nearly 20,000 Tweets from civil society organizations (CSOs) engaged in global health. The study suggests civil society priorities may be gauged on the basis of CSO, NGO and social movement action, including advocacy, program, and monitoring and accountability activities—all of which are widely documented by CSOs active on Twitter. Systematic analysis of CSO Tweets shows how attention to COVID-19 soared amidst generally small shifts in attention to a wide range of other issues between 2019 and 2020. Focusing on an under-represented stakeholder arena, the study recognizes civil society priorities as distinctive and measurable. In so doing, it helps to build a foundation for more robust analysis of the global health agenda.
Stephanie Smith is an Associate Professor in the Center for Public Administration and Policy, School of Public and International Affairs at Virginia Tech. Her research interests lie at the intersection of public health and the policy process globally and nationally. Current projects conceptualize and advance measurement of the global health agenda in a range of public arenas, including international aid, research, industry, news media and civil society, in addition to government and international agency arenas. Her research has been published in The Lancet, Social Science & Medicine, Health Policy and Planning, Global Public Health and Globalization and Health. She holds a Ph.D. in public administration from Syracuse University and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Russia.