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Linking communities to policy change: Successes and strategies from the CAFA initiative

Rebecca Flournoy, MPH, PolicyLink, 101 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94607, 510-663-2333, rebeccaf@policylink.org

How can community health groups with varying levels of experience in advocacy gain the skills, knowledge, linkages, and confidence to successfully impact policies to reduce environmental triggers of asthma? As technical assistance provders to CAFA on policy, advocacy, and communications, PolicyLink used a variety of strategies. PolicyLink is a national nonprofit research, communications, capacity building, and advocacy organization dedicated to advancing policies to achieve economic and social equity based on the wisdom, voice, and experience of local communities. We partner with local organizations that have a vision for their communities and help those organizations build a strategic roadmap to achieve that vision.

To help the CAFA coalitions understand policy options and achieve their policy goals, PolicyLink distributed informational updates on policy opportunities and activities, conducted trainings on advocacy and communications, provided one-on-one strategic advice, developed linkages to other relevant asthma and environmental organizations and policymakers, facilitated cross-coalition decision-making, and organized and mobilized coalition-driven statewide policy activities. This presentation will discuss these strategies and describe some of the policy successes that CAFA members were able to achieve. By the end of the third year of the CAFA project, the coalitions had worked to implement local policies, come together to select statewide policy priorities, developed advocacy strategies, and put their advocacy strategies into action. This type of authentic process, where local groups are the experts in defining policy needs and goals, is an important way to tackle health challenges and build long-term community capacity.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Asthma, Advocacy

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.

Community-based Advocacy to Reduce Environmental Asthma Triggers

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