194627 Lawyers and planners and policymakers, oh my! Strategies for successful multi-disciplinary collaborations

Monday, November 9, 2009: 2:30 PM

Christine Fry, MPP , National Policy & Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity, Public Health Law & Policy, Oakland, CA
Manel Kappagoda, JD, MPH , National Policy & Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity, Public Health Law & Policy, Oakland, CA
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funds the National Policy and Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity (NPLAN) to provide public health advocates in communities across the country with model policies that promote healthy eating and active living. Obesogenic factors abound in our society --- from the lack of access to healthy foods to limited physical activity opportunities to media that promote unhealthy diets and sedentary behavior. Such diverse problems require expertise not only in public health, but also in law, urban planning, public policy, and social science research.

NPLAN facilitates an innovative collaboration among experts from all of these disciplines who work on childhood obesity-related issues. Since early 2008, this group of experts has convened monthly to advise NPLAN on new obesity prevention policy strategies and to develop model policies. Although there have been challenges, this collaboration has yielded many successes that would not have been possible without the unique composition of the group. One such challenge has been in engaging non-lawyers in shaping model laws. Overcoming this challenge has led to stronger models for communities fighting childhood obesity.

This type of collaboration will be necessary as public health faces new cross-cutting challenges, such as global climate change. This session will identify strategies for creating and maintaining a collaborative in service of developing public health policy. These strategies will be illustrated through examples from the NPLAN collaboration model. The presenter will also describe NPLAN's approach to childhood obesity prevention, which is the foundation for this model.

Learning Objectives:
1. Design a successful multidisciplinary collaboration to address a public health problem. 2. Identify barriers to communication between experts from different disciplines.

Keywords: Collaboration, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I facilitate the NPLAN multidisciplinary collaboration.
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.