192431 What public health administrators must do to counter politics, harmful ideology, and misinformation in community health promotion

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 11:30 AM

David B. White, PhD, MPH , Health Services Department, Saint Joseph's University, Philadelphia, PA
Sally Black, RN, PhD , Health Services, Saint Joseph's University, Plymouth Meeting, PA
Kelly Welsh, MA , University Communications, Saint Joseph's University, Philadelphia, PA
Notwithstanding the Democratic victory in the presidential election and in Congress, whether the issue is smoking, EPA abuses, fossil fuel consumption, or global warming, the denial of empirical evidence in order to promote a particular agenda is a common re-occurring problem. Effective solutions are ignored while lives are sacrificed to preventable conditions. We cannot assume that the judicious application of knowledge will provide a basis for sound decision-making, resource allocation, and program selection. Public health administrators must compete with business, politics, and popular ideology to alleviate health problems. The issue is even more challenging when businesses, governments, or foundations manipulate data for economic gains. In order to reduce the number of people suffering from preventable conditions, public health administrators must learn to recognize and counter the effects of skewed and ideologically driven policies. This session aims to provide public health administrators with practical and tested strategies to increase public awareness of health issues and to promote knowledge of best practices. Public health administrators can deconstruct misperceptions and restore public confidence in our ability to address health issues. Steps include: 1) following public health issues in the media, 2) preparing information for journalists and reporters from the most reliable sources, 3) seizing the opportunity when a teachable moment occurs, and 4) remaining politically active to ensure appropriate resource allocation and accurate information. Armed with the best available information, communities in partnership with public health organizations will be empowered to make educated decisions in order to improve quality of life for all.

Learning Objectives:
By the end of the session, the audience will be able to: 1)Identify the re-occurring theme of manipulation of scientific information 2)Advocate for sound decision-making in public policy, 3)Understand how to take an active role in using the media to disseminate information to the public.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Ph.D. (1982) and MPH (1981) and over 30 years experience in public health practice and academia; Author of a dozen peer reviewed journal articles and aprpoximately 100 presentations at national and international professional conferences
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.