189897 Empowering advocates: Addressing disparities from within the community

Monday, October 27, 2008: 10:30 AM

Carla Freeman, MA , Tobacco Policy Change/RWJF, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Roswell, GA
Tobacco Policy Change has succeeded in bringing new and diverse advocates into the tobacco control movement, and while that can stand alone as a significant albeit overdue achievement, it has actually been a secondary result of the program's focus on addressing disparities in use and exposure through policy change. Previous attempts by the mainstream movement to be more inclusive were generally premised on fairness; TPC looked beyond equitable considerations to the question of why disparities persisted despite broad policy advances in tobacco control at the national, state and local level.

Why, for example, were there fewer clean indoor air ordinances in communities of color and working class cities, particularly in the South and Midwest, than in metropolitan and suburban areas in the Northeast and on the West Coast? Tobacco Policy Change determined that it needed to empower advocates from these communities being left behind while much of the nation has been winning the war against tobacco.

Greater emphasis has been placed on community organizing and outreach, earned media and coalition building. There have been fewer resources for polls, paid media, and contract lobbyists, but TPC grantees have often succeeded in building a deeper level of community support for their policy agendas because of their deep roots within their communities.

This presentation will review the specific efforts of select TPC grantees to address disparities through policy advocacy, and will examine the beneficial impact on the mainstream movement of TPC's success in attracting a diverse mix of non-traditional players to the movement.

Learning Objectives:
Learning Objectives: 1. Recognize the value of policy advocacy campaigns designed by the community most affected by the health disparity. 2. Describe outreach and planning techniques to effectively reach and engage diverse communities in policy advocacy. 3. Assess current coalition efforts to increase participation by diverse communities and improve the outreach plan.

Keywords: Tobacco Policy, Health Disparities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: tobacco work
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.