Public health policies are important guiding principles that serve to shape the well-being of individuals, groups, and society. Behavioral and social scientists can play key influential roles in public health policymaking. The actors and processes involved in setting public health policy are described, and several substantive examples of public health decision making are discussed, emphasizing HIV prevention policy experiences at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The significant influence of behavioral and social science in each of these examples is identified and critiqued. Challenges to further integration of behavioral science and public health policy are identified, and potential solutions are proposed.
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