152036 Health day at the capital: Fostering collaboration and active roles in policy development

Monday, November 5, 2007

Sonja Armbruster, MAC , Health Promotion, Sedgwick County Health Department, Wichita, KS
Elaine Schwartz , Executive Director, Kansas Public Health Association, Topeka, KS
Kimber Richter, PhD, MPH , Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS
Introduction: Kansas Public Health Association has organized and facilitated a multi-agency Alliance for Health Advocates and led a Health Day at the Capital intended to foster partnerships and develop legislative relationships between health advocates, health leaders, and policy makers to address the core function of policy development.

Method: Using the Community Change Model: a leadership team assessed community readiness and collaborated with health policy students to plan and publicize participation in a health fair, advocacy training, rally and legislative reception focusing on two audiences, public health practitioner/exhibitor/participants and legislators. Hundreds of contacts were made with practitioners using several different list serves, electronic newsletters, and linked coalitions. Legislators were contacted via email and by two separate hand delivered invitations.

Results: A new multi-agency health alliance formed. As a result of increased collaboration, more than 40 vendors participated, providing public health with a significant footprint on the Capitol on the last day of the legislative session. Health and policy leaders spoke at the rally and more than 50 people attended, including three media outlets. All senators attended the reception as if fortuitously occurred during their break.

Conclusion: Health fairs and rallies create opportunities for collaboration among public health practitioners, dialogue with legislators, and media attention to public health policy concerns. Advocacy training is needed to engage more practitioners, and this will require creative strategies to meet practitioner needs. This event will continue and is expected to have improved outcomes annually.

Learning Objectives:
Discuss strengths and weaknesses of event driven policy advocacy efforts Recognize and develop multi-agency advocacy partnerships

Keywords: Advocacy, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.