185544 A model for public health advocacy: Alameda County's Legislative Council

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pam L. Willow, JD, MPP , Legislative Council, Alameda County Public Health Department, Oakland, CA
The Alameda County Public Health Department established its Legislative Council in the fall of 1996 in response to a need for staff to be involved on the front end of policy making rather than just responding after the fact. Its mission is to raise awareness of public health issues throughout Alameda County and to develop and implement a locally focused, strategic legislative plan for developing and implementing public health policies and programs based on our needs and interests.

The Council, which is made up of representatives from throughout the Public Health Department, has the responsibility for analyzing and voting on which State and Federal bills the Department will support or oppose. The Council can also introduce its own legislation that the County would then sponsor through the legislative process.

By harnessing the health expertise and community knowledge within the Department and engaging concerned community members, the Legislative Council seeks to improve legislative decision-making in a way that will ultimately improve the health of Alameda County residents. The Legislative Council works to fill the gap between policy-makers and those who either implement the policies or who feel the impacts of these policies.

This session will explore the critical elements of this legislative advocacy model, how this might be replicated or modified in other public health departments, and the challenges of integrating a legislative advocacy program into the work of a public health department.

Learning Objectives:
Participants will understand the critical elements of a model county public health department legislative advocacy program. Participants will be able to list at least three considerations for replicating this model in other local public health departments. Participants will understand the benefits and challenges of integrating a legislative advocacy program into a public health department.

Keywords: Legislative, Public Health Advocacy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been responsible for coordinating the work of the Legislative Council since 2001.
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.