175639 When You Can't Lobby: A Solution for All Health Advocates

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Kimberly Weich Reusché , American Lung Association of California, Sacramento, CA
John Francis, MPH, MBA , Office on Smoking and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Problem/Objective: Many state and local health programs are prohibited from lobbying and are disengaged from the political process. Legislators are left without a clear understanding of the impact of government health programs on local communities and the known solutions. Capitol Information & Education (I&E) Days was created to establish relationships with state policy makers and build local agency and coalition capacity.

Methods: The Center for Tobacco Policy and Organizing, funded by the California Tobacco Control Program, organizes and facilitates annual Capitol I&E Days; a two-day event with advocacy training (Day 1) and legislative visits (Day 2). Locally-funded agencies, organized under the PACT Coalition (Protecting All Californians from Tobacco), educate legislators and encourage them to sign the PACT Resolution, supporting objectives to reduce tobacco-related illness and death.

Results: The PACT Coalition is represented by over 60 local health departments, tobacco control coalitions, and competitive and priority population grantees. All 120 Members of the California State Legislature are either visited by a delegation of PACT members, or given resources sharing the successes and challenges across the state. To date, nineteen current and former state legislators have signed the PACT Resolution.

Conclusions: Capitol I & E Days are an appropriate activity for heath programs to educate state policymakers on the leading preventable cause of death in California and the success of tobacco tax-funded programs across the state I&E Days are an excellent strategy to train advocates and build relationships with elected officials on specific health issues without lobbying.

Learning Objectives:
Capitol Information and Education (I&E) Days plays an important role in California Tobacco Control. This session will demonstrate how to train local advocates, develop effective messaging, conduct educational visits with legislators, and evaluate the process. Attendees will know how to effectively engage the political process, and communicate with local and state legislators without lobbying. Advocates will be able to organize and conduct I&E Days for any health issue.

Keywords: Advocacy, Public Health Policy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Director of the Center for Tobacco Policy & Organizing
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.