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Public health as public policy driver

Fern Walter Goodhart, MSPH, CHES, Rutgers University Health Services, Rutgers University, 319 Hurtado Health Center, CAC, 11 Bishop Place, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1180, 732-932-7710 x 273, goodhart@rci.rutgers.edu

Public health is often influenced by education, services and policy interventions; and public health workers are often experts on the first two, but rarely feel knowledgable or powerful enough to strongly influence the third. This can change as public health workers have access to, build relationships with, or --even better-- become the policy makers they wish to influence. As a panelist in this session, I will describe my experience being selected as an autonomous local board of health member, how that was parlayed into being elected to municipal office, and how elective office has served as my platform for advancing public health. For example, with pre-emption, our local board of health authority was restrained from legislating smoke-free restaurants and bars. Becoming an elected member of my city council, however, I now have the authority to influence this policy on a local level. Being a city councilmember provides other unique opportunities: for building relationships with the town and schools in my community for health promotion, considering cultural competence in a range of staff decisions and service delivery, and directing city staff to apply for grants of particular public health benefit. There are many public health competencies and skills that easily transfer to running for and holding elective office.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Policy/Policy Development,

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Politics and Public Health: Powerful Partners

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA