198180 Teaching Health Advocacy: A Social Determinants of Health Approach

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 2:45 PM

Elizabeth Mogford, PhD, MPH , Sociology, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA
C. Linn Gould, MS, MPH , Just Health Action, Seattle, WA
Just Health Action (JHA), a non profit organization based in Seattle, has developed an exciting alternative health education curriculum that teaches students to take action on the root causes of health inequities. Moving beyond educating about individual behavior change, this approach provides students tools to advocate for reducing health disparities that result from social, political, economic, and cultural factors (the social determinants of health). Importantly, we not only teach about the “upstream” causes of health disparities, we teach tools to promote “upstream” solutions.

JHA's health action framework has four major components:

1. Knowledge: teaching the underlying causes of health disparities using a social determinants of health model; 2. Compass: conducting multiple activities to assist students in identifying health issues they want to take action on; 3. Toolkit: teaching students specific strategies to be an effective advocate to reduce health disparities; 4. Action: reaching consensus on how to take culturally appropriate, relevant action in a community and implementing the action.

In this presentation, we will present our health advocacy model and provide case studies of actions to improve population health by AmeriCorps volunteers, an Environmental Justice Youth Corps group, and university students. In addition, we will present our process and impact evaluation of these cases and discuss the challenges and successes of the approach to date.

Learning Objectives:
1. Articulate differences between upstream and downstream actions to improve health. 2. Describe three advocacy tools that can assist students to see themselves as engaged citizens producing healthy communities.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: It is our 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.